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30 September 2014, 05:00
Almost 1,700 council and housing association homes will benefit from improved energy efficiency as part of a £4.5 million initiative in Scotland, housing minister Margaret Burgess has announced.
A total of 24 local authorities and social landlords are to be given grants to install measures that will make their properties both warmer and cheaper to heat.
Work is to be carried out on 1,677 homes, thanks to the Scottish Government's £4.5 million Green Homes Cashback Scheme.
Mrs Burgess said the cash would "not only improve the quality of social rented properties up and down the country but it will make a real difference to families who are struggling to make ends meet''.
She added: "It is scandalous that fuel poverty exists in an energy-rich country like Scotland, that's why this Government has spent almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three-year period on energy efficiency measures.
"Through the Green Homes Cashback Scheme we are helping social landlords and councils upgrade their properties with energy efficiency measures, which will in turn will save residents' money on fuel bills and cut emissions.''
Mrs Burgess announced how the funding was being distributed ahead of a Holyrood debate on affordable housing.
She said: "Making sure everyone in Scotland has access to good quality housing is a vital part of the Scottish Government's drive to secure economic growth, promote social justice, strengthen communities and tackle inequality.
"Despite challenging economic conditions and Scottish budgets being cut, our rate of house-building per head continues to outperform other parts of the UK.
"In fact we have boosted housing supply budgets by investing £1.7 billion in affordable housing over the lifetime of this parliament.
"Through our partners in councils and housing associations, we have now delivered more than 21,000 affordable homes and are two-thirds of the way towards our target of 30,000.
"We have delivered over 4,000 new council houses since 2009 and helped over 2,900 households get on the property ladder through the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme.
"But we are also committed to preserving Scotland's social housing stock, which is why we are abolishing the Right to Buy, which will protect up to 15,500 social houses from sale and safeguard social housing for future generations.
"However it's not just about supporting people into sustainable homes, we are also protecting vulnerable tenants from the impacts of the most damaging welfare reforms, which is why we have protected 71,000 households by investing £55 million to mitigate the harmful impact of the 'bedroom tax'.''