Analysis by WWF Scotland of Scottish Government figures shows that the Scottish Government is planning to reduce the amount of money it spends on policies that help to tackle climate change by almost 10%. It follows a commitment from the Scottish Government, first made last summer and repeated in the run up to the international Paris climate change conference, that climate change would be embedded throughout its Draft Budget.
Previous analysis by the Existing Homes Alliance had already shown that the Scottish Government is currently planning to reduce future funding for fuel poverty and energy efficiency by 13%, in comparison to their spending in the current financial year. This is despite a commitment made last year to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. With almost half of Scotland’s climate change emissions coming from heating our homes and businesses, improving energy efficiency is the essential foundation to tackling climate change, cutting fuel poverty and reducing fuel bills.
The Scottish Government’s independent advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, advised the Scottish Government last March that ‘more action is needed to meet future targets’. If the opportunities of a low carbon economy are to be secured the draft budget needs to be amended.
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “These new figures undermine the Scottish Government’s claim to have embedded climate change in its draft budget. With the Paris conference having demonstrated increased international commitment to tackling climate change, we should be stepping up our action not pulling back. If we’re to secure the economic and social benefits of being at the forefront of global action on climate change, the Scottish Government must invest in Scotland’s low carbon future.
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“It‘s particularly disappointing that the Scottish Government is reducing funding for energy efficiency programmes, despite its commitment last year to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. Reversing this decision would be one clear way to better embed climate change in this Budget, whilst also helping to tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.
“As the Draft Budget is finalised over the coming weeks, the Scottish Government should use this opportunity to increase its investment in building a low carbon economy, so that the final budget represents a stronger reflection of its new commitment to embed climate change throughout this Budget.”