By Lucy Ashton
Green MSP Ross Greer, pictured right, has welcomed Parliament’s approval of vital plans to invest at least £1.8 billion to make buildings in Scotland more energy efficient and lift families out of fuel poverty.
The vote came as gas prices across the UK began to surge, threatening to push the 12,000 West Dunbartonshire families already in fuel poverty deeper into crisis. 
Figures show that a quarter of households in Scotland are already considered to be in fuel poverty, including 12,000 in West Dunbartonshire, 29% of the local population. This number is expected to rise sharply due to the increasing price of heating a home and the UK Government’s looming cut to Universal Credit.
The £1.8billion package of energy efficiency measures was a key Green priority during the negotiations which led to last month’s cooperation agreement between the party and the Scottish Government. It will be delivered by Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP, left, who is now the Scottish Government’s Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings.
Scottish Greens West of Scotland MSP Ross Greer has pointed to these plans as an example of how the measures needed to tackle poverty, create jobs and reduce Scotland’s climate emissions go hand in hand.
Ross Greer MSP said: “The surge in gas prices is a real concern to so many people who rely on fossil fuels to heat their homes. 12,000 households in West Dunbartonshire were already in fuel poverty but this surge in gas prices will sadly see that number rise this winter.
“Whilst powers over the energy market and prices are unfortunately reserved to Westminster, we do have considerable power here in Scotland to make our buildings much more energy efficient, reducing both fuel bills and emissions.
“This surge in gas prices shows yet again why we must end our dependency on volatile, unreliable and climate-destroying fossil fuels. That’s why Scottish Greens in government are accelerating plans to make homes across Scotland more efficient and to switch from fossil fuels to renewable alternatives like heat pumps. To support this, we will invest at least £1.8bn over this term of Parliament.
“As well as helping families reduce their fuel bills and tackling the climate crisis, this package of measures will create thousands of jobs and help our economy recover from the pandemic. That’s the difference having Scottish Greens in government is making.”