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Evidence on the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) Bill

By: Shelter Scotland  Published: November 2018


This is Shelter Scotland's evidence to the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) Bill, submitted to the Local Government and Communities Committee.    

Summary

Shelter Scotland welcomes the development of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill and the opportunity to provide evidence at Stage 1 of the Bill.

Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. And we campaign to make sure that, one day, no one will have to turn to us for help. In the last year we supported 21,000 people with advice and help with their housing and issues with affordability was the top reason people came to us for support. The link between fuel poverty, wellbeing, and tenancy sustainment cannot be overstated.

  • 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.
  • We welcome this Bill as a means of ensuring a renewed effort to tackle fuel poverty in statute: the fact that the previous target was missed is a clear indicator that a change in drive and direction is required. However, we have concerns that the scope of the Bill is too narrow and that without sufficient statutory levels, such as targets on energy efficiency, there is a risk the target will be missed again.
  • We simply cannot be in a situation in 2040 where we still have hundreds of thousands of households struggling to afford their energy bills and unable to achieve a warm and well-lit home.
  • In particular, we would like to see more ambitious targets including statutory interim or sub-targets and an amendment to the definition of fuel poverty to ensure rural households are accurately represented and supported.

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