HOUSING campaigners are calling for more to be done to tackle fuel poverty across Clydebank and north-west Glasgow.

Despite a target to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016, an estimated 649,000 households in Scotland still struggle to heat homes and cook for their families.

But Clydebank’s MSP said the Sottish Government is doing a great deal on the issue and said campaigners should instead target the UK government.

Locally, work has begun on the district heating plant at Queens Quay, designed to provide affordable heat to new homes planned for the regeneration of the site as well as public buildings such as the leisure centre, college and new health centre and care home.

Shelter Scotland, the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) said new government definitions of fuel poverty could cause residents to miss out on help.

Annie Mauger, executive director of the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland, said: “We commend the Scottish Government for setting a target to eradicate fuel poverty.

“But we would question the level of ambition when the definition of ‘eradication’ means that up to 10 per cent of Scottish households could still be living in fuel poverty in 2040.

“For fuel poverty to be truly eradicated, the Scottish Government must also be willing to commit appropriate resources over the coming years to make it happen.”

A consultation on fuel poverty by the Scottish Government ended last week.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It is simply unacceptable in 21st century Scotland for people to be torn between choosing to heat their home or other essentials and it is good that the government is renewing its commitment to tackle the problem.

“We’d like to see that pledge backed-up with more detail on how the Scottish Government will measure success over the 22 years so we can be sure the action taken is working.”

Gil Paterson MSP said he supported Citizen Advice Bureau’s efforts on fuel poverty in Clydebank and that by the end of 2021 the SNP will have committed £1 billion to making buildings warmer and cheaper to heat in Scotland.

He said: “A landmark Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme will begin to be rolled out from 2018. The scheme will make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority and will aims to provide more affordable energy for consumers.

“The SNP government will be establishing a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company to deliver energy to consumers at as low a cost as possible.

“The SNP government is also maintaining winter fuel payments for Scotland’s pensioners. And we’ll ensure early payment to the almost 80,000 pensioners who live ‘off-grid’, so they can take advantage of lower prices.

“There is a lot being done to combat fuel poverty in Scotland - and I again urge constituents to make use of some of the help available to them by the likes of CAB.

“I would urge housing campaigners to challenge the UK government to abolish connection charges in Scotland the same as in the south east of England where they in fact get a rebate for connecting.”