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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 17:44 GMT
Elderly offered heating upgrade
Pensioner in front of fire
The scheme aims to help pensioners and poorer housholds
More pensioners will be eligible to get a free upgrade to their central heating system, under Scottish Executive plans.

The scheme, to repair or replace partial or inefficient systems, had been targeted at private householders over 80.

From January 2007, it will be extended to include pensioners in receipt of the guarantee element of Pension Credit.

The Warm Deal, which offers home insulation grants to those on benefits, has also been extended for two years.

About 92,500 pensioners in Scotland are in receipt of the Pension Credit guarantee. However, it is not known how many people within this group have partial or inefficient central heating.

The Central Heating Scheme will continue to provide free systems to private householders over the age of 60, where there is no system or one which is irreparably broken.

Social sector

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said more than 65,000 homes had already benefited from the scheme.

He added: "Scotland's free Central Heating Programme for the elderly is the envy of the UK.

"I am delighted to announce that the scheme will continue and make a real difference to people's lives."

The programme, which has cost 183m so far, has also offered central heating to social sector homes where none existed, with the exception of Glasgow Housing Association properties, where work will continue until March 2007.

Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor welcomed the news but urged ministers to tackle delays in delivering heating systems and insulation.

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