SNP group leader Peter Henderson will ask councillors to back a motion calling for the more help for rural residents.

In his motion, Councillor Peter Henderson states: “The council is requested to write to the Scottish and UK Governments to seek the introduction of assistance to rural homeowners in regards to the cost of energy crisis, in particular the lack of alternative heating and energy supply in rural areas.”

He outlined the fact that people living in rural areas are much more likely to suffer fuel poverty – with 42 per cent of rural homes classed as fuel poor or in ‘extreme’ fuel poverty, almost double the national average.

Cllr Henderson continues: “These figures are from 2019 and the true scale of fuel poverty is now believed to be significantly higher, with research showing as many of 57 per cent of people could be in fuel poverty.

“Rural communities also face higher living costs, with evidence suggesting that living in remote rural Scotland typically adds 15-30 per cent to a household budget."

This is largely to do with higher heating costs as a result of expensive oil heating systems, he said.

He continued: “Oil heating is not regulated by Ofgem, which means people with oil heating systems are not protected by the Energy Price Guarantee.  And this affects a large proportion of South Ayrshire homes and families.

“In the last 12 months the cost of heating oil has doubled with prices rising from around 64p per litre to £1.20 per litre.”

He said: “The need to support schemes for new collective purchase and community asset ownership models to pay for the improvements, enhanced grants and loans to cover additional insulation and running costs and a support service for rural businesses to help them build the skills needed to decarbonise rural heating.”

The motion will be tabled on Thursday at the meeting of South Ayrshire Council.