A major new alliance has been forged to fight for an end to Scotland's draughty, unhealthy homes.

The group, ranging from the Church of Scotland to the Federation of Master Builders, wants the Scottish Government to set concrete goals on domestic energy efficiency.

The SNP administration in June this year declared warm homes to be a national infrastructure priority top tackle both fuel poverty and meet greenhouse gas commitments.

But the new group, the Existing Homes Alliance, believes the government should commit to a target that all homes in Scotland are at least an Energy Performance Certificate band ‘C’.

The Herald this week revealed growing concerns about heating and insulation in the mushrooming private rented sector. Fully 11 per cent of private tenants say they are never warm enough in their own homes.

However, energy efficiency problems also blight many private homes and social rents. Some 39 per cent of Scots are in fuel poverty.

Alan Ferguson, who chairs the Existing Homes Alliance said: "It was great to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority.

"This is vital if we as a nation are to end fuel poverty blighting our homes and step up to the challenge of climate change.

"However, we now need to see concrete proposals and clear goals from the Scottish Government to make this happen.

"These should include a goal of helping all homes reach a C energy performance standard by 2025, and a commitment to major long-term funding to support investment in energy efficiency.

Many homes and buildings do not ye have EPCs. But getting a basic level C would mean a huge programme of capital improvements to Scotland's built environment, creating many jobs.

Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland said: "“Too many children across Scotland are growing up in cold homes, with fuel poverty affecting four in every ten households.

"This more than doubles their chances of suffering respiratory conditions like asthma, as well as impacting adversely on mental health, educational attainment and emotional wellbeing.

"Supporting all homes to reach a C standard will improve the physical and emotional health of families across Scotland and help to improve the life chances of Scotland’s most vulnerable children.”

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said: "Improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes is a huge opportunity to build a stronger economy and a more just Scotland.

"Research shows that bringing all homes up to at least a C energy performance standard would create 8,000 -9,000 jobs a year distributed across communities in Scotland, new training and skills development opportunities and offer an excellent return on investment in generating employment and economic growth compared to other infrastructure investments.”

Domestic heating accounts for 45 per cent of Scotland's greenhouse emissions, nine times more than air travel.

Cold, damp and draughty homes are thought to cost the NHS £48m-£80m a year.

The alliance brings together a huge variety of groups, including poverty and climate change charities, professional associations for engineers, builders and heating engineers, churches, trades unions, local authority experts, and social housing organisations.