SUPPORT SCHEME DELAYED UNTIL JANUARY
Gordon MP Richard Thomson has criticised the Westminster Government for the continuing lack of any detail as to how ‘off-grid’ energy consumers will receive their support from the Alternative Fuel Payment Scheme.
In a reply to SNP MP Mr Thomson, UK Energy Minister Graham Stuart restated the commitment to make payments this winter but said simply that he would “announce further information on the delivery and timing of these payments in due course.” A circular issued to MPs on Friday has now confirmed this has been delayed until January 2023, stating that “payment is a complicated matter”.
In the past two years, the cost of home heating oil has increased by more than 230%, rising from £0.31 a litre to £1.05 a litre on average. Recent figures from the House of Commons Library show there are around 129,000 off-grid homes in Scotland dependent on home heating oil.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
"While I welcome the increase in the payment for off-grid consumers insofar as it goes, it remains the case that no-one yet knows when the money will be paid out to those who need it.
“The Conservative Government have completely abandoned rural Scotland throughout the cost-of-living crisis. This delay is an insult to families in rural communities across the North-east - and it's another gaping hole in the UK Government's botched energy plan.
"The cost of heating rural homes is much higher than other parts of the country - with the price of heating oil soaring by over 230% in two years. The UK Government must redouble its efforts to get a working scheme put in place and get the support out to the people who so desperately need it.”