Highland Council to consider support for households living in fuel poverty
Proposals to provide almost £3 million to help households in fuel poverty in Highland this winter will be considered by members at the meeting of full council on December 9.
If agreed, a payment of £180 would be made to around 16,440 eligible Highland households where residents are in receipt of means-tested council tax reduction.
33% of households in Highland are experiencing fuel poverty compared to the national average of 24% and 22% of all households in Highland are facing extreme fuel poverty, which is nearly double the national average, at 12%.
The significant recent increases in fuel prices will place even greater pressures on an increased number of Highland residents.
On 29 October 2021, the Scottish Government announced a £41m Winter Support Fund for low-income families which includes £10m nationally to help those struggling to pay their fuel bills. Highland Council is proposing to use an allocation from this fund together with £2m from reserves in order to mitigate the fuel challenges faced by Highland residents this winter.
Leader of Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson, said: “In the light of the clear concerns about extreme fuel poverty in Highland communities, it is imperative that we take immediate action to relieve some of the worst impacts this winter. In the longer term, this dire situation clearly demonstrates the pressing need for a UK wide, strategic review of our energy supply, market and infrastructure.”
Depute leader Alasdair Christie added: “Living with fuel poverty has far reaching impacts, particularly on health and wellbeing, as well as learning, employment and social networks. I would encourage anyone affected by the stark choices of heating or eating, to seek help and support for a number of providers.”