Almost 100,000 households move out of fuel poverty

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Charities warn against complacency with around 748,000 Scottish households still fuel poor

6th December 2016 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

Almost 100,000 Scottish households have moved out of fuel poverty, according to official statistics.

A Scottish Government survey found the rate of fuel poverty declined by around 4% between 2014 and 2015, meaning 97,000 homes were no longer classed as being fuel poor.

However, 30.7% of households, around 748,000 properties, are still living in fuel poverty, while 8.3%, or 203,000 homes, were classed as being in extreme fuel poverty.

A family is said to be in fuel poverty if more than 10% of its income is spent on household fuel use.

If that figure rises above 20%, the household is in extreme fuel poverty. 

The reductions come after years of increases – fuel poverty rates are now no better than they were eight years ago

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) welcomed the news but said more investment in making homes energy efficient was required.

The federation has called on the Scottish Government to set minimum standards to bring all homes to an “acceptable” efficiency standard.

Chief executive Mary Taylor said: “Our members face a particular challenge in addressing fuel poverty as, while research published by the SFHA last year showed that housing associations and co-operatives have the most energy efficient homes in Scotland, their tenants have lower than average incomes.

“This means that while their homes cost less to heat, they are just as likely to be in fuel poverty, and so it is vital that associations are supported to continue to invest in the energy efficiency of their homes.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to demonstrate that energy efficiency is indeed a national infrastructure priority and to back this up by increasing funding as no one in Scotland should be living in fuel poverty.”

Citizens Advice Scotland also warned against complacency.

Energy spokesman Fraser Stewart said: “30% of Scottish households are still living in fuel poverty. More than half of the reduction in households in fuel poverty last year was a result of the falling price of domestic fuels, and those people remain vulnerable to fuel price rises in the future.”

Keith Robson, Age Scotland’s deputy chief executive said the figures came with a “sting in the tail”.

“The reductions come after years of increases – fuel poverty rates are now no better than they were eight years ago, and remain over 80% worse than twelve years ago when winter fuel payments were introduced,” he said.

“This report confirms that energy efficiency and money in people’s pockets are the most significant factors in whether people can afford to keep their homes warm enough to live in. These factors are much more in the control of Scottish and UK Governments – yet these are the areas where we have made the least recent progress.

“We need a radical transformation of Scotland’s housing stock if we want to ensure that older people can live in safe, warm and comfortable homes which they can afford to heat.”

8th December 2016 by Robert Mcall

Entirely agree with Fraser and Keith. Keep up the good work while you can Fraser as things will be different once Holywood takes control of your charity.