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Consultation on a Fuel Poverty Strategy for Scotland - Shelter Scotland response

By: Shelter Scotland  Published: February 2018


This document represents Shelter Scotland's response to the Scottish Government's consultation on a fuel poverty strategy for Scotland.

Summary

Shelter Scotland welcome the drive from the Scottish Government to tackle fuel poverty.  It is unacceptable that, under the current definition, 649,000 households are living in fuel poverty and unable to meet their basic needs of heating their home and using cooking and washing facilities without spending a large proportion of their income on energy.  This is particularly problematic given the increasing pressures on household incomes for instance from welfare reform, the freeze to working age benefits and stagnating wages, especially for those who are already living in income poverty.

We acknowledge the money and effort already spent on tackling fuel poverty and energy inefficiency in Scotland.  However, the fact that the previous target to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016 was dramatically missed is a clear indicator that a change in drive and direction is required, and therefore we welcome this consultation on a new strategy to tackle fuel poverty. We cannot be in a situation in 2040 where we still have hundreds of thousands of households unable to achieve a warm and well-lit home.

We support the inclusion of new targets to provide motivation and focus to tackle fuel poverty, but believe these could be more ambitious, and emphasise the importance of monitoring and a willingness to change course if adequate progress towards targets is not being made.

We welcome the redefinition of fuel poverty to focus limited resources on those most in need, though we have concerns certain groups may be disadvantaged by the proposed changes.  In addition, it is of paramount importance that any strategy aiming to tackle fuel poverty does not solely focus on those currently in fuel poverty, but also directs support to preventing people from falling into fuel poverty.

Overall, we stress the importance of delivering a strategy that ensures that people who are struggling to provide a warm and well-lit home for themselves and their families, regardless of definitions or targets, are provided the support that they need.

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