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Handful of landlords have received loan to reduce carbon output, say Lib Dems

The scheme was intended to provide loans so landlords could make their properties more energy efficient (Philip Toscano/PA)
The scheme was intended to provide loans so landlords could make their properties more energy efficient (Philip Toscano/PA)

Landlords of less than 1% of private rented properties in Scotland have received funding from a flagship Government scheme to reduce their carbon output, according to Scottish Lib Dem findings.

The party asked the Scottish Government using freedom of information (FoI) legislation how many of Scotland’s 340,000 private rented properties had benefited from a scheme set up to help registered landlords retrofit their properties to make them warmer and more energy efficient.

The Government said that leasers of just 215 properties, or 0.06%, had received funding for retrofitting measures from the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Landlord Loan scheme, which was first established more than three years ago and has been allocated a total of £2.5 million to date.

Further data released as part of the same FoI response showed landlords of only 190 of those properties had received funding for energy efficiency measures such as insulation, and leasers of just 26 had been granted funding to install renewable energy measures such as heat pumps.

The data also revealed the landlord of only one property in the whole of Scotland had received funding for both energy efficiency and renewable heating measures through the scheme.

Scottish Lib Dem climate emergency spokesperson, Liam McArthur, said the figures showed the scheme was having “almost zero impact” and urged the Government to heed his party’s call for a national insulation programme as an alternative.

Mr McArthur said: “This is supposed to be one of the Scottish Government’s flagship schemes to decarbonise and warm homes, yet it is having almost zero impact.

“The poor uptake and lack of a whole-home focus suggest the scheme was cobbled together without any serious understanding of how to deliver warmer, greener homes for people living in private rental properties.

“If Scottish ministers are serious about making energy efficiency a national priority, they must ensure schemes provide the necessary incentive and that effort is put into promoting uptake.

“That is the only way to make meaningful progress in decarbonising homes and reducing fuel poverty.

“More broadly, Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to call for a national emergency insulation programme for all home across the country, with a particular focus on those homes which are hardest to heat.

“This will accelerate progress towards creating properties which are both financially and environmentally sustainable.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Homes in the private rented sector typically have a poorer standard of energy efficiency than other properties and we know that private tenants want to see their landlords invest some of the rental income in making properties warmer and cheaper to heat and to tackle fuel poverty.

“The scheme is demand led. We would encourage private sector landlords interested in finding out more about the scheme to contact Home Energy Scotland.

“Unlike the UK Government, we have not scrapped the plan to introduce energy efficiency standards for private rented homes, and details will form part of our Heat in Buildings consultation to be published next week.”