Winter misery for pensioners facing heating scheme delays


Pensioners are facing long waits for new central heating installations

Jo Swinson has warned that hundreds of East Dunbartonshire pensioners could face a winter without heating and hot water unless delivery of a Scottish Government scheme is improved.

The Central Heating Programme provides new central heating, insulation and advice to vulnerable pensioners, but severe delays are affecting applicants waiting for new installations. Thousands of pensioners nationwide are on the waiting list for new heating systems under the programme.

As well as raising the issue with Charity Help the Aged in a meeting in Westminster today, Ms Swinson has written to Scottish Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell on behalf of a number of her constituents to highlight the problem.

Commenting on the issue, Jo Swinson said:

“Delays in the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Central Heating Programme mean that many vulnerable East Dunbartonshire pensioners are facing a long, cold winter. In the worst case I have come across, a pensioner who applied in August has been told that her new boiler will not be installed until April next year.

“Because of backlogs in the scheme, pensioners whose heating fails or is shut down for safety reasons have little chance of securing a replacement heating system before winter. For elderly residents, going without heating through the winter months can be not only uncomfortable but dangerous.

“For a seasonal scheme like the Central Heating Programme, it is essential that results are delivered on time. The scheme has been a success in past years, but now Scottish Government Ministers need to hold urgent talks with Scottish Gas, who run the scheme, to sort out the current problems.”

The Central Heating Programme was introduced in 2001. There are currently around 11,000 people on the scheme’s waiting list nationwide.

Information on the Central Heating Programme is available from: Scottish Gas, Freepost, SCO 4421, Edinburgh, EH6 0BR; or freephone 0800 316 1653.

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