Blog: Eradicating fuel poverty

Housing minister Kevin Stewart

Housing minister Kevin Stewart outlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to eradicating fuel poverty.

Eradicating fuel poverty is crucial to making Scotland fairer and that is why we will shortly introduce the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill.

This Bill, which many will know as the Warm Homes Bill, will enshrine in legislation our long term ambition to eliminate fuel poverty.

Of course, fuel poverty is about more than just heating costs, and the Bill will also address issues around household fuel costs – it is unacceptable for example that anyone should have to make the choice between having the heating on and cooking their dinner.

The name of the legislation will therefore be the Fuel Poverty Bill rather than the Warm Homes Bill to reflect this and to ensure compliance with accuracy and neutrality of the Bill in line with Parliamentary rules.

Ultimately this Bill will achieve three key things – it will set a new target for fuel poverty; introduce a new definition, recommended by experts, that will focus our support on those who need it most, no matter where in Scotland they live; and mandate the production of a new long-term fuel poverty strategy.

These are all proposals that our expert advisers and relevant stakeholder groups have said are required, and, having listened to their arguments, we will deliver.

In addition to the Bill, the First Minister recently launched Energy Efficient Scotland, the Scottish Government’s long-term energy efficiency programme to remove poor energy efficiency as a driver of fuel poverty.

The Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map sets out our vision for all buildings in Scotland – that by 2040 all our buildings will be warmer, greener and more efficient – and how we will deliver on the National Infrastructure Priority for Energy Efficiency.

We are seeking views on our proposals through the Energy Efficient Scotland consultation, including views on what legislation may be needed to support delivery of our energy efficiency programme and have committed to develop, if appropriate, a further Bill to support that later in this Parliament.

This is another way in which we are tackling wider issues around fuel poverty. Ultimately, through both Energy Efficient Scotland and our Fuel Poverty Bill we will make homes and buildings in Scotland warmer and more affordable to heat.

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