#ScotPfG: Existing Homes Alliance welcomes fuel poverty bill as ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ for warm homes

The Existing Homes Alliance has described the Scottish Government’s new Fuel Poverty Bill as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to achieve warm homes for all.

The Alliance welcomed the commitment in yesterday’s Programme for Government to tackling fuel poverty, in particular trhough the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Strategy and Definition) (Scotland) Bill.

It has called on MSPs to amend the bill to ensure all homes are brought up to a standard of energy efficiency that “will tackle fuel poverty and climate change, reduce ill-health, improve well-being, reduce inequalities, and create and sustain jobs across Scotland”.

Alliance chair Lori McElroy said: “More than a quarter of Scottish households are still living in fuel poverty – the same proportion who faced cold homes a decade ago – and over a million homes fall below the energy efficiency standard needed for our health. All political parties agree this is unacceptable.”

“This bill should aim for every household to be able to afford a warm and dry home and a healthy dignified life that allows them to participate fully in society. We urge all MSPs to use the scrutiny process to ensure this legislation is strengthened so it can deliver on the promise of warm homes for all.”

Ms McElroy added: “In this Year of Young People, it is more important than ever to recognise the detrimental effects fuel poverty can have on children and young people – in terms of health, well-being and attainment levels – and urgently address their needs.”

A Warm Homes Bill tackling both fuel poverty and energy efficiency was promised in the SNP manifesto for the last Holyrood elections, and has broad cross-party support.

The Alliance believes this legislation should provide a strong legal foundation not just for the new Fuel Poverty Strategy, but also for the new Energy Efficient Scotland programme.

The Programme for Government mentions the potential for an Energy Efficient Scotland Bill but makes no commitment to it.

The Alliance said: “This bill should ensure that everyone can benefit from affordable heat and energy in all parts of Scotland, regardless of geography, tenancy, housing type, or income. The Alliance urges politicians of all parties to seize this opportunity.”