TERMINALLY ill and severely disabled people in the North-east will shortly be able to get help to heat their home.
Regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament by SNP Housing Minister Alex Neil will, if approved, allow up to 48,000 people with severe disabilities in Scotland to access a range of free help from the Scottish Government, including repairing or replacing their central heating system, fitting insulation or draught-proofing their home.
Terminally ill patients who are finding it hard to heat their homes will also be given support, for example, to repair a broken heating system.
Help will be provided through the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland service, which provides a wide range of free or discounted help for low-income households.
The recommendations have been made to ministers by the Fuel Poverty Forum, the group set up by the Scottish Government to look at ways to tackle fuel poverty. If approved by the Scottish Parliament, the extended eligibility will come into force by the end of March.
Welcoming the proposals, Banff and Buchan MSP and SNP candidate for Banffshire & Buchan Coast Stewart Stevenson said: “It’s important that we give all the support we can to those affected by severe illness or disabilities.
“We know many vulnerable people have a lack of income, but need to heat their homes at a higher temperature and for longer periods throughout the day.
“We hope this will give more vulnerable people the help they need to keep their homes warm without the extra worry of fuel costs or heating systems breaking down. I hope that many people will benefit from this scheme in the North-east, as well as the rest of Scotland.”