MSP for the Highlands & Islands Emma Roddick has welcomed news that £20 million will be allocated to extend the Scottish Government’s Fuel Insecurity Fund during today’s [Thursday 15 December] 2023/24 Scottish Budget statement.
During his statement, Deputy First Minister and acting Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, highlighted the need to make use of the full resources available during the current economic climate. The Deputy First Minister went on to announce that the £20 million previously committed to fund a referendum on Scottish independence would be reallocated to extend the Scottish Government’s Fuel Insecurity Fund into next year.
Ms Roddick expressed that, whilst it was disappointing that a referendum would not be held in 2023 as the people of Scotland had voted for, she was glad that the funds would be reallocated to a good cause.
“As many are all too aware, my region experiences some of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country. Folk in the Highlands and Islands are being hit the hardest by the rising cost of energy and other goods and services.
“Although I’m disappointed a referendum on Scottish independence will not go ahead next year, I am glad to see the Scottish Government prioritising our most vulnerable and alleviating some of the pressures facing so many in my region thanks to the UK Government.
“The damage that is being done to households across the Highlands and Islands and the rest of Scotland by unfair UK energy policy is just another case of how this union is failing Scotland.
“Whilst this extra funding will no doubt mitigate some of the devastating impacts of Tory welfare decisions, Scotland needs the full powers of independence to be able to build a fair system that delivers for those who need it most.”