THE Scottish Government is asking residents in North Ayrshire and across Scotland to give their views on a new long-term strategy to tackle fuel poverty.

The consultation will run until February 2018 and will seek opinions on, among other things, ambitious targets for fuel poverty reduction - with a revised definition recommended by an independent, expert review - and the timescales for meeting them.

Responses to the consultation will inform the new strategy and the development of a Warm Homes Bill, due to be introduced in 2018, which will enshrine the proposed new fuel poverty target in legislation.

North Ayrshire SNP Spokesperson for Fuel Poverty Cllr Tony Gurney said: “Far too many people across North Ayrshire find themselves struggling with unaffordable energy costs, including the elderly, families with young children and those with serious medical conditions.

“At Holyrood, the SNP is busy delivering on its Programme for Government 2016 commitment to make half a billion pounds available to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland over the next four years.

“The fuel poverty strategy and Warm Homes Bill will take a bolder and more focused approach to reducing fuel poverty.”

“Locally, the SNP has always had fuel poverty and energy efficiency high on the agenda and when in administration we ensured that the homes we built were constructed to some of the highest thermal standards available and pioneered the costfree installation of solar panels on our homes.

“This was done at no cost to the council tax payer, provided much needed free electricity for our residents and provided a long term income stream to the council to reinvest in our homes.

“We will also continue to push for more of the innovative and far reaching fuel poverty alleviation projects that we pioneered whilst in administration.

“This is a perfect opportunity to make your voice heard regarding the SNP Government’s new long-term strategy and I would encourage all North Ayrshire residents to participate in the consultation.”

The consultation document is available on the Scottish Government’s consultation hub at better-homes-division/fuelpoverty