THE Scottish Government has relaunched a programme which aims to improve the homes of people living in fuel poverty.

The Government’s Zero Carbon Building Minister, Patrick Harvie, said the programme will “liberate” people facing fuel poverty as a result of increasing fossil-fuel prices.

The Warmer Homes Scotland programme, which was first launched in 2015, has been allocated an additional £728 million over the next seven years.

It forms part of the £1.8 billion committed during the current five-year parliamentary term to support the transition to greener heating.

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The Government said the scheme has already helped more than 35,000 households across Scotland to install a more affordable climate-friendly heating system.

The second phase of the programme will launch on Monday, at the start of Challenge Poverty Week, an initiative started by Scottish charity Poverty Alliance which aims to highlight the injustice of poverty in Scotland.

Harvie claimed the Government’s grants for heating and energy efficiency are the most generous in the UK.

He continued: “We are now ramping up our support and making a long-term investment in helping those in fuel poverty through the energy transition.

“This is an important element of our overall package of support, sitting alongside our grants and loans for heating and energy efficiency, which remain the most generous in the UK.

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“We are committed to a heat transition that takes people with us and that shows clearly why a rapid shift away from fossil fuels is necessary.

“That transition can liberate people from the insecurity of fossil fuel prices, and lead to warm and healthy homes while tackling fuel poverty and climate breakdown.

Harvie criticised the UK Government’s recent U-turn on climate policy.

He said: “Only 10 days ago, the UK Government signalled a significant retreat from steps they could have taken to support changes in home heating and tackle the climate crisis.

“In stark contrast, we are committed to introducing legislation in this parliamentary term and to supporting people through this transition.”

Challenge Poverty Week runs from October 2 to 8. More information can be found here.