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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00114: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 19 May 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S4W-30367 by Fergus Ewing on 17 March 2016, what its position is on the UK Government’s plan to deliver a UK-wide cost recovery mechanism for Shetland’s subsidy using the Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme.

Answered by: Keith Brown 31 May 2016

In March 2015, the UK Government confirmed that the full costs of the cross-subsidy for Shetland would be spread over Great Britain from the date at which the new energy solution for Shetland is implemented. This change will have the effect of reducing costs for all consumers in the North of Scotland and that is welcomed by Scottish Ministers. Further, in December 2015, the UK Government set out its intention to retain both the Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme and the Common Tariff Obligation in their current form.

However, energy consumers in the North of Scotland will continue face some of the highest energy bills in Britain, with severe fuel poverty currently affecting many households in the Highlands and Islands. Regional differences in network charges are only one part of a range of complex issues underlying fuel poverty and we have commissioned the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force to examine the issues around fuel poverty in rural areas and make recommendations. We look forward to a report of their findings and proposals later in 2016.