Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed the release of a report by Age Scotland on issues faced by people over 55 in the Scottish islands, calling its findings "troubling". The report included a survey of over 55s from Orkney, with many respondents raising concerns over fuel poverty and a need for suitable housing.
Commenting, Alistair Carmichael said:
"This report is a necessary wake up call for Scotland, and Orkney in particular. Orkney, we learn, has one of the fastest-ageing populations in Scotland. The number of people over 75 is expected to increase by more than double by 2037. If we are going to cope with the future needs of islanders, we need to start planning now."
"It comes as no surprise to see that fuel poverty is a major worry for those surveyed in Orkney. We're used to our long, dark winters in the Northern Isles, so naturally heating costs are significantly higher here than in the majority of Scotland. It is clear that this weighs heavily on vulnerable members of the community. With fuel poverty rates at 57% in Orkney and 44% in Shetland, more action is clearly needed. It's about time that the government takes notice of the fuel poverty emergency in the Isles.
"While the findings are troubling, I am grateful to Age Scotland for this timely report. From local organisations all the way up to the national government, we should all take notice, and take steps to respond to the changing needs of our communities."