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SFHA welcomes ambition on energy efficiency but calls for Scottish Government investment

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The SFHA has responded to the Scottish Government’s announcement of a long-term plan for energy efficiency by welcoming its ambition but calling for support to enable housing associations to continue to lead on energy efficiency and the provision of affordable warmth.

SFHA Head of Public Affairs Sarah Boyack said

“The SFHA welcomes the ambition and long-term commitment demonstrated in the announcements made by the First Minister today. The SFHA fully supports ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions and to eliminate poor energy efficiency as a cause of fuel poverty.

"Housing associations have a strong track record in energy efficiency, renewables and affordable warmth. Associations have the most energy efficient homes in Scotland and deliver energy efficiency advice and initiatives such as district and renewable heating.”

"While welcoming the ambition, however, the SFHA makes it clear that ambitious targets need to be supported by Scottish Government investment to bring about the transformational change proposed in today’s announcement.

Ms Boyack continued

“What is proposed today represents a welcome level of ambition to ensure housing makes a contribution to reducing carbon emissions but also, crucially, to help insulate tenants against rising energy prices. While housing associations have the most energy efficient homes in Scotland, their tenants are on average on low incomes and so more likely to be in fuel poverty than the average Scottish household.

"Fuel poverty levels are highest in rural areas off the mains gas grid, and these areas particularly require investment and support. 

"While housing associations have invested significantly in the energy efficiency of their homes, in order to meet existing energy efficiency standards for social housing, we know that the majority of that investment has come from their own resources. 

“With these new targets, which are very challenging, there needs to be a discussion on how the significant investment required will be funded. We are therefore calling on long-term funding support from the Scottish Government to enable housing associations to continue to lead on energy efficiency and renewables and to provide their tenants with affordable warmth. This funding would meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to treat energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority.”

Ms Boyack concluded:

“Housing associations are ideally placed to lead on home energy efficiency and the development of innovative approaches to providing affordable warmth. They have the numbers of properties, long-term ownership, asset management skills and the commitment to social justice to lead on schemes to provide affordable warmth and reduce carbon emissions.  

“Our members have already made significant progress in increasing the energy efficiency of their homes and in developing innovative approaches to providing affordable warmth such as renewable heating, district heating and setting up their own not for profit energy company. We now call on the Scottish Government to provide the support to enable our members to continue to lead on low carbon affordable warmth while keeping rents affordable.”    

Ends

For further information, please contact SFHA Media Adviser Kirsten Walker on t: 0141 567 6221 m: 0788 788 8348 email: kwalker@sfha.co.uk

Visit our website at www.sfha.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SFHA.HousingScotland

Twitter www.twitter.com/sfha_hq

 

NOTES:

 

  1. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) was established in 1975 and has around 128 members providing affordable housing and wider community services across Scotland, as well as a further 150 commercial associates. The SFHA is owned and governed by its members and exists to lead, represent and support the work of housing associations and co-operatives throughout Scotland.
  2. Figures on home energy efficiency and fuel poverty levels are from the Scottish House Condition Survey, published by the Scottish Governmenthttp://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/12/5401
  3. The SFHA is the voice of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland. SFHA’s 128 members represent 81% of the sector, own and manage 86% of the 283,000+ housing association stock across Scotland. Together, housing associations and co-operatives provide housing for almost 500,000 people, which is one in every 11 households.
  4. Over 15,000 staff are employed by SFHA members across Scotland, 93% of the staff within the sector.
  5. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies, regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.