The government’s Fuel Poverty Bill sets out proposals for a new statutory target to reduce fuel poverty to no more than 5% of households in Scotland by 2040. It also introduces a new definition of fuel poverty and a duty for Ministers to publish a fuel poverty strategy and report on progress every five years.
In its submission to the Scottish Parliament’s finance and constitution committee on the financial memorandum of the Bill, CIH Scotland welcomed the focus on reducing fuel poverty but called for more ambitious targets backed by the resources needed to achieve real change. Despite a previous target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, 26.5% of households in Scotland are still living in fuel poverty.
CIH Scotland policy and practice manager, Ashley Campbell, said: “We absolutely support the need for homes across all tenures to be more energy efficient and want to see every person in Scotland living in a home that they can afford to heat. We have welcomed the introduction of a new statutory target but more can and must be done before 2040 – it is not acceptable to leave thousands of households in fuel poverty for the next 20 years.
“The Scottish Government needs to invest more in energy efficiency measures, advice and information if it is serious about tackling fuel poverty.
“While the financial memorandum only covers the direct costs to the Government we need decisions on how much money will be spent and whether it is to come from landlords, taxpayers or the private sector. Recent figures showing winter deaths at their highest level in 18 years show that more of the same will not be enough to make the changes we need to end fuel poverty.”