Holyrood 2016: Over a third of families face ‘heating or eating’ choice

Sean Morton – families should not be forced to choose

MORAY FAMILIES SHOULD not be required to choose between heating and eating, according to Scottish Labour’s candidate in May’s Scottish Elections.

Sean Morton has hit out at new figures published by the Scottish Government that he says plans to cut the fuel poverty budget by £15million – or 13% of current spending.

The cuts come at a time when some estimates suggest that around 36% of homes in Moray live in fuel poverty, a situation that has been high on the agenda of SNP politicians who have long argued for a better deal on fuel costs from the UK Parliament.

Mr Morton says he is firmly behind Scottish Labour plans for a ‘Warm Homes Act’, which he says will change building and planning regulations in a way that would help tackle fuel poverty. He said: “No family in Moray should have to choose between heating and eating.

“In 2001 the last Labour-led Scottish Government set ambitious legislation to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. We know the SNP Government will miss that target, with the latest estimates show that 36% of all households in Moray live in fuel poverty.

“So it beggars belief that the SNP Government in Edinburgh plan a huge cut to the fuel poverty budget. Scottish Labour will take real action on fuel poverty. We will deliver ground-breaking legislation in the form of a Scottish Warm Homes Act.

“With new powers coming to Scotland we have the chance to really do things differently. After a decade in office and with a majority in Parliament there are no excuses for the SNP failing to deal with fuel poverty.”

Figures showing 36% of Moray households in fuel poverty were produced by the Scottish House Condition Survey between 2011 and 2013. That shows the highest level of fuel poverty is on Orkney at 58% with the Highland region at 50%. The figure for Moray is lower than neighbouring Aberdeenshire where the level was calculated at 43%.