Stats show wide disparity in fuel poverty levels across Scotland
Fuel poverty remains a postcode lottery in Scotland, new figures show.
Statistics released by the Scottish Government reveal worrying disparities in how each local authority area is dealing with the problem.
The figures from the Scottish Household Survey indicate Stirling had the biggest drop in recorded instances of fuel poverty from 34% to 29% while Argyll and Bute reported a significant rise from 40% to 48%.
Of the 32 local authorities across Scotland, six of them were found to have increased levels of fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty is caused by poor energy efficiency of homes, low incomes and high energy prices. It results in people having to ration the time they have their heating and hot water on and also in making choices between essentials such as buying food or paying for fuel bills.
Norman Kerr, director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, said: “The figures now published show a patchwork of progress across the country. The majority of local authorities are moving levels of fuel poverty in the right direction. However, others have more work to do to overcome difficult conditions such as helping rural properties that are off the gas grid.
“Without the work being done by local authorities to tackle fuel poverty, the level of the problem would undoubtedly be much worse. The new figures highlight that progress can be made but that more resources are needed, particularly where local conditions are tougher to deal with.
“When the Scottish Government reviews its fuel poverty strategy later this year, it is essential that the important role that local authorities play in tackling fuel poverty has a central place in it and that they are well-resourced for the task.
“The local elections in May are also an opportunity for local representatives to pledge their commitment to ending the scourge of fuel poverty.”
This year the Scottish Government has pledged to review its strategy and to reset the target that expired last autumn.