Central Scotland MSP and Minister for Housing & Communities Alex Neil has hit back at Labour attacks on the Energy Assistance Package, calling them "nonsensical".
Mr Neil has revealed that of the 69,000 people who have phoned the EAP helpline, 96% received some form of help which ranges from a free benefits check to a having new central heating system installed. Of those eligible for a new central heating system, about 47% had a system installed. He also confirmed that the £50.9million budget for the scheme was committed.
Alex Neil MSP said:
"Labour can try to put down this very worthwhile scheme all they want, the fact is that this Scottish Government has delivered a record number of central heating installations and will continue to do what it can to lift people out of fuel poverty.
"Their ridiculous claims that because every caller didn't get a new central heating system the scheme is a failure is shocking.
"We have extended the central heating scheme to include families with young children or disabled children and to people with certain long term health conditions. We are doing everything we can to make sure the people who need the help most get the help first. The EAP helpline offers free benefits checks, energy efficiency advice, help with insulation as well as, for those eligible, new central heating systems. The fact that 96% of the 69,000 callers received some form of help tells its own story over whether this scheme has been a success.
"So either Labour are trying to deliberately mislead people with their misinformation or they are ignorant to how the scheme works. Either way they need to back the scheme instead of trying to shamelessly put it down."