Fuel poverty campaigners call for more ambitious targets

Housing campaigners are calling for the Scottish Government to introduce tougher targets to end fuel poverty.

In responses to the government’s consultation, which ends at 5pm today, Shelter Scotland, the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) and the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) have all welcomed the renewed focus on the issue but raise concerns that current proposals don’t go far enough.

Under the current definition, 649,000 households live in fuel poverty in Scotland despite the Scottish Government having set a target to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016.

Under new proposals there will be a new definition and new targets aiming to reduce the proportion of people in fuel poverty to 20% by 2030 and to under 10% by 2040. Housing campaigners are concerned that the new definition may result in some people missing out on help and have raised concerns that the targets are not strong enough.

Annie Mauger, executive director of the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland, said: “We commend the Scottish Government for setting a target to eradicate fuel poverty but would question the level of ambition when the definition of ‘eradication’ means that up to 10% of Scottish households could still be living in fuel poverty in 2040. For fuel poverty to be truly eradicated, the Scottish Government must also be willing to commit appropriate resources over the coming years to make it happen.”

John Mills, co-chair of ALACHO and head of housing at Fife Council, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s continuing long-term commitment to reducing fuel poverty.

“Local authorities have worked hard to improve the energy efficiency of their own homes and in supporting owners to do the same.

“We believe there should be a clear commitment to eliminate poor energy efficiency as a cause of fuel poverty as the first step to ending it all together.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It is simply unacceptable in 21st century Scotland for people to be torn between choosing to heat their home or other essentials and it is good that the government is renewing its commitment to tackle the problem.

“We’d like to see that pledge backed-up with more detail on how the Scottish Government will measure success over the 22 years so we can be sure the action taken is working.”

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