Calls for fuel poverty plan after key target missed

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30th August 2016 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Efforts to tackle fuel poverty must be redoubled after it emerged a key Scottish Government target would be missed, campaigners said.

Members of the Existing Homes Alliance (EHA) made the call after a recent admission by housing minister Kevin Stewart that this November's statutory target for eradicating fuel poverty will not be met.

The EHA, a partnership between WWF Scotland, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and Energy Action Scotland, is now calling for a new three-point plan to be introduced to improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s cold and leaky homes.

Recommendations include a “significant” boost to investment in home energy efficiency measures to save households money on their heating bills.

It is a national shame that there are currently 845,000 households in Scotland living in fuel poverty, and that energy inefficient homes stop many of those from escaping that poverty

The alliance also calls for the government to set a national objective to bring every home in Scotland to at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C by 2025.

Campaigners said the move would largely eliminate energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty, benefit 1.5 million households, help reduce energy bills, cut the nation’s carbon emissions, reduce NHS costs of treating illnesses related to cold and damp homes and create up to 9000 new jobs.

Finally, the EHA wants to see the publication of a delayed consultation on the regulation of energy efficiency in private sector. This would leverage private investment into tackling fuel poverty and help those in rented accommodation, where the energy efficiency of homes is lowest.

Alan Ferguson, EHA chair, said: “It is a national shame that there are currently 845,000 households in Scotland living in fuel poverty, and that energy inefficient homes stop many of those from escaping that poverty.

“Households are forced to waste precious cash and carbon because their homes leak out the warm air.

“It is of course disappointing that Scotland will miss the target to eradicate fuel poverty, which the government has now acknowledged. We now strongly encourage ministers to use the remaining three months to develop new plans that redouble efforts to tackle the scourge of fuel poverty.

“With the target countdown now on, we hope our proposed three-point plan is a constructive contribution that the Government can take forward. Investment in energy efficiency is a no-brainer, working alongside efforts to raise incomes and reduce energy costs. It will help lift people out of fuel poverty, stimulate the economy, create jobs and cut our climate change emissions.”

Mr Stewart said the Scottish Government remain committed to eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland.

He said: “That is why we have already designated home energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, and are making available £103 million this year alone.

“This is on top of more than £500m we’ve spent since 2009 improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing.”