Up to £21 million will be invested in a new three year scheme to allow low income owner-occupiers to carry out essential repairs and energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

The Help for Homes scheme targets those with limited income who meet the minimum equity requirements.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Housing is at the heart of the Government’s ambitions to create a fairer and more prosperous country, and that includes supporting homeowners in essential upgrades to enable sustainability at home.

“We recognise there are homeowners who want to look after their homes and make them more energy efficient but are unable to afford to carry out work, particularly those who live in tenements. The Help for Homes funding will help homeowners with limited income to combat this.

“That is why the Scottish Government is tendering for a Help for Homes pilot scheme, which will see vulnerable homeowners given help to carry out vital improvements to their homes.”

The property must have been the homeowner’s sole residence for at least 12 months. The maximum loan is 49 per cent of the valuation.

If there is a mortgage or other secured debt at least 30 per cent of the market valuation in equity must remain in the property after the loan has been deducted. Eligible homeowners will borrow from the Scottish Government and repay when they sell their home, die or transfer ownership.

There will be no means test but the scheme will be limited to properties in Council Tax bands A to C and also to homeowners outside these Council Tax bands in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.