Holyrood backs £100m Green bid for warm homes.
Today is a great day for Scotland's environment and for those suffering in fuel poverty. By the substantial margin of 91 to 15 (i.e. with SNP & Labour support), Holyrood backed our energy efficiency pitch for this year's budget.
The final motion, which passed by a similar margin, is at the end, with the Green text is in bold.
We believe £100m more a year from the Scottish Government can fund free energy audits for everyone in Scotland, and provide free insulation and financial support on micro-renewables for everyone who can benefit.
The Green scheme is designed to deal with fuel poverty (although it obviously can't tackle all of the pure poverty element of that), improve health, cut carbon emissions, boost green collar jobs in the construction sector, bring bills down.. well, you get the idea.
We went public with the bid just under a month ago, and it appeared on page 2 of the Daily Record (sorry, proud press officer moment). Although this vote doesn't guarantee we'll see this money allocated, it's a great step in the right direction.
Labour and the SNP get a warm welcome here for backing this call. I'd love to see more constructive politics in Holyrood on crucial issues like this, issues that should be cross-party, and perhaps MSPs have made a start today towards that.
The Tories voted against, despite Alex Johnstone's offer to consider it on the floor of the chamber. I think they could be won round, but I'll have a look at the official report tomorrow to see exactly what they said. Disappointing and inconsistent (see below).
The Liberals abstained. Now, some say the fence is just where they're comfortable, but it's pretty extraordinary on this issue. They're separately backing £800m of unfunded tax cuts, so I suppose they can't be seen to want to spend yet more money on top of that.
It looks pretty weak, though, and when the vans go round insulating everyone's house for free (touch wood) we are likely to be pointing out that they couldn't support it. The party may claim to be Greens Lite, but the truth is they're now looking like Tories Lite instead.
The irony is this project is largely based on ideas tested out in Kirklees (watch the video) by Green councillors, working with the Tories and the Liberals. I'm staggered that they both want to be on the wrong side of the issue up here. Hopefully they'll get on board, but for now, I'll take 91-15 in favour.
Final motion as passed: That the Parliament recognises the significant role that energy efficiency and microgeneration measures could have in reducing energy costs for householders and businesses, in achieving urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 80% by 2050 and contributing to the eradication of fuel poverty by 2016; notes that research carried out by the Energy Savings Trust suggests that widespread installation of microgeneration could provide 30 to 40% of our electricity needs by 2050 but that current investment in energy efficiency and microgeneration measures is insufficient to achieve these goals, and calls on the Scottish Government to take steps, as set out in the Energy Efficiency and Microgeneration Bill proposals, such as fiscal incentives for householders and businesses, to ensure that microgeneration technologies become widely available and used and to consider other energy efficiency measures for new and existing housing stock to tackle fuel poverty, climate change and security of energy supply; notes the evidence given by Friends of the Earth Scotland to the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee suggesting that an additional £100 million per annum would be a welcome change to the draft budget for 2009-10, and calls on the Scottish Government to consider a comprehensive and fully funded Scotland-wide scheme on this scale to provide energy audits, insulation provision and financial support for micro-renewables where appropriate.