Harvie will make call at Greens party conference to ‘insulate Scotland’

Greens co-leader will l state that tackling fuel poverty will protect vulnerable households.

Patrick Harvie will make call at Green party conference to ‘insulate Scotland’ in bid to counter rising fuel bills STV News

Insulating Scottish homes to be low energy will help protect the country from “turbulent fossil fuel markets” that “bloat brutal regimes and destroy our planet”, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie will say at his party’s conference on Saturday.

Harvie, Scottish Government minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, will state that tackling fuel poverty and energy efficiency will protect vulnerable households from volatile global energy prices, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He is also expected to announce measures to extend the support offered to households to improve energy efficiency in homes to tackle rising energy bills.

The Scottish Greens conference is taking place in Stirling on Saturday.

Harvie is expected to say: “Conference, we need to insulate Scotland. Against our northern hemisphere cold. Against the blight of fuel poverty. And against reliance on turbulent fossil fuel markets which bloat brutal regimes and destroy our planet.

“That is why my first major statement as a minister set a target of converting over a million homes to zero emissions heating by the end of this decade; and why we are already seeing the first allocations of our £1.8bn funding over this Parliament.”

With Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, he will also set out what the party has already delivered in government, such as free bus travel for young people, the doubling of the Scottish Child payment and record investment in recycling.

Harvie will say: “Our movement has always known that tackling the climate crisis and tackling poverty go hand in hand.

“Building a greener future means leaving no-one behind. Now we are bringing that approach to government.”

Energy bills are set to rise at least 14 times faster than wages this year, new research suggests.

The TUC said its analysis showed that gas and electricity bills are on course to increase by 54% when the price cap set by Ofgem changes in April, but average weekly wages will go up by 3.75%.

The union organisation estimated that record high energy prices could wipe out the entire value of pay rises this year.

The TUC says those on low incomes will be hit hardest by sky-rocketing bills, as years of weak wage growth and benefit cuts have left working families “badly exposed” to the cost of living crisis.

The TUC estimated that since 2010 energy bills have risen at twice the speed of average wages.

With the conflict in Ukraine set to hike up energy costs further, the UK Government was urged to come forward with new measures to support struggling families.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Years of wage stagnation and cuts to social security have left millions badly exposed to sky-high bills.

“With households across Britain pushed to the brink, the Government must do far more to help workers with crippling energy costs.

“That means imposing a windfall tax on oil and gas profits and using the money raised to give hard-pressed families energy grants, not loans.

“It means a real increase to universal credit to stop low-income workers from being pushed into poverty.

“That’s the fastest way to get support to families who need it, and it means coming up with a long-term plan to get wages rising across the economy.”

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