Warning over rural Scotland being 'plunged into Victorian-era poverty'

Scottish Labour has called for clarity around support for households.

Warning over rural Scotland being ‘plunged into Victorian-era poverty’ iStock

Urgent action is needed to stop rural Scotland from being “plunged into Victoria-era style poverty”, it has been claimed.

The warning was issued by Scottish Labour who say that Scots living in ‘off-grid’ properties are are risk of becoming forgotten as part of the cost of living crisis.

According to analysis by the party and following the release of the consumer price index statistics, the cost of heating oil has increased by over £500 per 1000 litre.

Approximately 417,000 (17%) of homes in Scotland are off the gas grid, with 217,000 using fuels other than mains gas or electricity to het their homes.

Meanwhile, around 28% of rural households in the country use heating oil as their primary source of heating fuel.

The party has called for greater clarity from the UK Government over the support available for those households to help with costs.

Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour MSPs for the Highlands and Islands, called for an urgent UK Government intervention to address the issue.

“People living in rural homes have been completely forgotten by this government,” she said.

“Despite the Tory Chancellor doing his best to copy Labour’s plans to tackle the cost of living crisis, they have not included our guarantees for off grid homes.

“The increase in the cost of heating oil is one of the biggest prices rises within the ONS statistics. It directly impacts people living off grid, and yet, we have seen no substantial aid package from the SNP or the Tories.

“Even in the Scottish Tory leader’s own constituency, off grid homes are facing destitution because of soaring heating oil costs. How can Douglas Ross not have clarified what support is available for his own constituents?

“With reports of people stealing oil and gas cannisters out of desperation and pensioners choosing between putting the heating on or eating dinner, we need urgent government intervention if we are to stop rural Scotland being plunged into Victorian era style poverty.”

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