As winter storms lash Scotland, many of us hunker down and keep cosy indoors. But new statistics show that more than a quarter of households in Scotland will struggle to keep warm this winter. With fuel poverty now affecting nearly 27 per cent of households, it’s time for the Scottish Government to dramatically increase the level of spending on energy efficiency to make our homes warmer. This week’s budget needs to give assurance to those facing another cold winter that change is on the way. According to the Scottish House Conditions Survey, fuel poverty now affects 26.5 per cent or 649,000 households. For the people living in those homes, that means they routinely spend more than ten per cent of their income on heating their home. The impacts of living in fuel poverty are well documented, ranging from health problems like lung conditions to lower educational attainment. Today in Scotland, around a million people find themselves in fuel poverty as a result of high energy costs, low income, poor energy efficiency and the way energy is used in the home. The good news is that 99,000 households have been lifted out of fuel poverty in the last year, and the number of people affected is now at the lowest level for a decade. The bad news is that we’re back where we started in 2007. The drop in fuel poverty is largely down to falling energy prices, with only a third of the reduction coming from improvements to the energy efficiency of our homes. And therein lies the challenge for the Scottish Government. Energy efficiency is the one driver of fuel poverty where the Scottish Government has all the devolved levers of power that they need to make a difference.
Scotsman 12th Dec 2017 read more »