Page last updated at 23:46 GMT, Saturday, 3 October 2009 00:46 UK

Loan scheme for home insulation

Thermogram showing heat loss from house
Ministers hope the insulation scheme will help meet climate change targets

Homeowners in Scotland are to be offered loans for insulation and other energy efficiency measures.

Details of the pilot scheme are to be announced by the Scottish government later in the week.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said it would help people struggling to pay their energy bills and play a role in meeting climate change targets.

Opposition politicians criticised the plan, saying it was unlikely to go far enough.

Mr Swinney said improved energy efficiency was a key part of the government's economic recovery plan.

He said: "We all need to stop wasting energy in our homes, in transport and at work.

"Advice on how to take simple steps to be more energy efficient - and a loan to make it more manageable - will help thousands of people cut their fuel bills and play their part in reducing emissions."

'Cold comfort'

Scottish Labour said more urgent action was needed, claiming the previous administration provided insulation and new central heating systems for 100,000 homes.

To make it work, to make a real difference to those with hard-to-treat homes, we'd need to see a fund worth tens of millions
Patrick Harvie MSP
Scottish Greens

Finance spokesman Andy Kerr said: "A pilot scheme to provide loans is cold comfort to many and not an adequate response.

"The sad truth is that the SNP are letting down Scotland's pensioners and we need to see much more urgent action from ministers to ensure that our elderly people are living in warm, energy-efficient homes."

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the scheme was a "pale imitation" of the one his party had proposed.

He predicted the scheme would be funded to the tune of £2m, which he claimed was inadequate.

"To make it work, to make a real difference to those with hard-to-treat homes, we'd need to see a fund worth tens of millions," he said.

"That would be enough to make a real start on those cold and draughty properties that can't take loft or cavity wall insulation."

Energy efficiency

Meanwhile, it emerged that only four out of nearly 140,000 homes assessed in Scotland since 1 December 2008 had been given an A-rating for energy efficiency.

Energy performance certificates are now required to be completed when properties are sold or rented out.

Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats revealed that 11,578 properties were given an F rating and 3,888 fell into the bottom category.

Scotland has set climate change targets to cut greenhouse emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

A Scottish government spokesman said 3,698 homes had benefited from new central heating systems since its Energy Assistance Package was launched in April.

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