Lothian figures show failure of SNP insulation scheme

Research by the Scottish Greens published today showed the extent to which the SNP’s means-tested Home Insulation Scheme has failed across Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian. In the first two years of the SNP scheme, 58117 households in Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian were visited by contractors, but only 2% of those homes received any actual insulation work. Just 423 households received cavity wall insulation, 241 received full loft insulation and 559 received top ups to existing loft insulation.

Nationally, the SNP’s flawed Home Insulation Scheme cost a staggering £1,600 per insulation job done, almost five times more expensive than a universal scheme delivered by Green Councillors in Kirklees, Huddersfield.  Greens point out that at this rate, it would take more than 200 years to insulate every home in Scotland if it was left to the SNP.

The Scottish Greens are instead proposing a £100 million a year universal home insulation scheme, fitting loft and cavity wall insulation on a free-of-charge, area-by-area basis, as well as soft loans for more expensive work on hard-to-insulate homes, repayable only when the property is sold.

Scottish Government figures show that the Green scheme could deliver £340 a year savings on heating bills for the average Scottish household. It would also boost jobs in the construction sector and cut Scotland’s carbon emissions by more than 6%, making a substantial contribution to the 42% reduction target for 2020. Overall household savings once the scheme was completed would stand at £782 million a year, every year, even assuming no energy price rises.

The Scottish Greens today rolled out this key election pledge in Edinburgh, as Cllr Alison Johnstone and Cllr Steve Burgess, the party’s top candidates for the Lothian region, unrolled a banner made of recycled plastic loft insulation.

Cllr Alison Johnstone, the Scottish Greens’ top candidate for the Lothian region, said:

“Across Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian, it seems all the SNP’s failed insulation scheme has achieved is a lot of knocking on doors and virtually no actual insulation. Only a small proportion of homes were even visited, and only 2% of them had any work done. The next Parliament will have to start again to get the job done properly, area-by-area, street-by-street and door-by door. That remains the most cost-effective way to cut fuel bills, to tackle climate change and fuel poverty, and to create thousands of new jobs in the construction sector.

“The SNP approach has been extraordinarily bureacratic and financially inefficient, and the schemes proposed by other parties in their manifestos are inadequate and under-funded. The Green approach just gets the job done cheaply and efficiently – we know this from the experience of our colleagues down south. Securing a proper insulation scheme will be one of our top priorities in the next session of Parliament.

“Of course, our insulation scheme could have already been up and running. In the 2009 budget negotiations, SNP ministers threw out our proposals and instead went for their own unambitious and flawed scheme. It has been an inefficient, patchy and costly disappointment so far, and only Greens in the next Parliament will get the job done across Lothian.”