SOME 800 households in Aberdeenshire will be given free help to cut their energy bills this winter, Nicola Sturgeon said last week.
The Deputy First Minister has allocated a further £190,000 to install vital energy efficiency measures, such as loft and cavity insulation into homes across the region.
Also, a Scottish Government cash back voucher scheme has gone live benefiting up to 35,000 households across Scotland. This will allow individual householders to apply for £500 vouchers to contribute to the cost of new energy efficiency measures in their properties.
Ms Sturgeon said: “With temperatures dropping and colder weather beginning to bite, households in Aberdeenshire will be worrying about their winter energy bills.
“Solid action is absolutely imperative. That is why we have ploughed additional funds into the Universal Home Insulation Scheme to help make homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
“This is the kind of vital help which can make a real difference to those struggling to make ends meet and demonstrates we will do whatever we can within devolved powers to tackle fuel poverty.
“Anyone looking for help with their heating bills can contact our Home Energy Scotland Hotline on 0800 512 012 for further assistance.”
The additional funding is for the Universal Home Insulation Scheme (UHIS) - an initiative administered by local authorities.
Ms Sturgeon continued: “We all need to work together to tackle fuel poverty. Local authorities have been extremely effective at administering these schemes and I welcome their positive approach.
“I hope again that they will be able to deliver maximum results with this extra money. But our efforts are being held back by punishing price rises imposed by energy companies. The UK Government - who has responsibility for this area - is simply not doing enough to regulate the market, and this has to change urgently.
“With winter approaching, we need an end to mixed messages and confusion from Westminster, which frankly has done nothing to inspire confidence among worried householders.
The new funding is due to the success of the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package in attracting energy company obligation funding to Scotland under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target.