One in four homes affected by fuel poverty

Fuel poverty

CAS is calling on the Scottish Government to double investment in energy efficiency. 

21st January 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A charity is calling for investment in energy efficiency to be doubled after new figures showed more than half a million homes in Scotland are in fuel poverty.

The statistics, published by the Scottish Government, show that 619,000 homes were in fuel poverty in 2018, meaning around a quarter of all Scottish households spent at least 10% of their income on heating.

One in ten, meanwhile, were found to be in extreme fuel poverty, where heating bills accounted for 20% or more of income.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is now demanding ministers take urgent action to help tackle the problem.

The charity is currently running Big Energy Saving Week, a national campaign to help people save money on their energy bills, and is calling on the Scottish Government to double the funding available to help make Scottish homes more energy efficient.

Dr Jamie Stewart, CAS fair markets spokesperson, said: “These figures are a sorry state of affairs for Scotland. Over 600,000 homes in fuel poverty, and 279,000 in extreme fuel poverty shows the staggering scale of this problem.

“Every year the Citizens Advice network in Scotland helps tens of thousands of people with energy-related issues with many of them dealing with unaffordable energy costs coupled with living in homes which are hard to heat.

“The first step in tackling fuel poverty must be to help those struggling to keep their homes warm. That’s why in the upcoming Scottish budget we want the Scottish Government to commit to doubling spending on energy efficiency.”

Last year, CAS advisors helped people with energy payment issues save an average of £232, said Dr Stewart.

“So if you are struggling with your energy bills, visit your local bureau where you can get specialist advice on how you can save money," he added.

Other charities have also expressed their concerns over the figures.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “It’s extremely disappointing that despite efforts to tackle fuel poverty, the figures are moving in the wrong direction, with old people most affected.

“It’s simply unacceptable that tens of thousands of older people in Scotland are spending their later years worrying about energy bills or cutting down on other necessities to pay for heating.”

Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown added: “It is shocking to think that a quarter of households face a struggle to keep their homes warm and put hot food on the table in a wealthy nation such as ours.

“While some progress has been made on the housing conditions people face, hundreds of thousands are denied their basic right of a warm and healthy home.

“We must see investment in new social homes built to good standards and improvements to the existing buildings which most people call home.”