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Holyrood warned to put political differences aside to end fuel poverty

MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament were urged today not to ditch a government pledge to help hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people living in “almost uninhabitable” damp homes.

Twenty-five organisations have signed a joint letter to every MSP calling for cross-party unity to maintain commitments made by the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens, whose government partnership was ended by former first minister Humza Yousaf last week.

They fear that the commitments could be watered down or even axed under a new First Minister.

The letter was co-ordinated by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition and Energy Action Scotland and signed by leading civil society organisations.

It says that a new survey of Social Workers Union members has found that 69 per cent of those in the profession in Scotland have seen the people they support living in cold, damp homes.

It warns that the crisis is even worse among the most vulnerable.

The organisations want MSPs to unite behind the Heat in Buildings Bill, which aims to improve energy efficiency and insulation in all Scottish homes.

They also want action to end fuel poverty, introduce better tenants’ rights and provide financial help for households suffering from the cost-of-living crisis.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition co-ordinator Simon Francis said: “Any further delays to boosting energy efficiency plans, protecting tenants’ rights and organising financial support for the most vulnerable will hit households hard.

“We need MSPs to come together and unite on a programme that will tackle the long-term causes of Scotland’s cold homes crisis and provide emergency support to those most at risk next winter.”

Warm This Winter spokeswoman Fiona Waters said: “What voters really care about is the cost-of-living crisis driven by high energy bills that is still putting unbearable pressure on millions of households around the country.

“We need governments in each nation who will prioritise fixing our broken energy system by getting us off expensive oil and gas and onto cheap, homegrown renewables and by properly insulating our leaky housing stock to bring down bills for good.

“Politicians should not lose sight of that or they will pay at the ballot box.”

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