New report highlights ‘staggering’ fuel support intervention from social landlords

New report highlights 'staggering' fuel support intervention from social landlords

After Ofgem announced that the energy bill price cap is set to rise from January, a new report from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has outlined the huge scale of fuel support to tenants that housing associations have provided in the past year.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund has enabled housing associations and co-operatives to make over 68,000 direct interventions for tenants struggling to afford their energy costs.

Distributed through SFHA, the £6.4 million fund meant that tenants could be supported with cash, household items, energy advice and help to write off energy debt. An independent analysis of the impact of this has now revealed that this work provided nearly £120m of social value, including relief from anxiety and the ability for people to access advice locally.

Interventions included:

  • Over 25,000 people received fuel vouchers
  • Over 9,000 people received direct financial support
  • 9,719 people received energy advice
  • 6,796 people received energy efficient appliances
  • Over 12,000 people received other useful household items
  • In total 92 projects have been supported by the Fund, representing almost 90% of all Scottish housing association and cooperatives.

SFHA said that this demonstrates not only the wider social value their members provide, but the ‘staggering’ level of need that social tenants will continue to face this winter.

The energy watchdog Ofgem revealed yesterday that the new energy price cap will be set at £1,928 a year for a typical household who use gas and electricity and pay by Direct Debit - a 5% increase on the previous quarter. The new cap rate also remains considerably higher than the pre-2021 rates.

Echoing calls from SFHA, last week Gillian Martin MSP, the Scottish Government’s minister for energy and environment, wrote to the UK Government to ask them to introduce a social energy tariff, specifically noting the need for social tenants to be protected.

Sally Thomas, CEO at the SFHA, said: “I’m hugely proud that our members continue to do all they can to support tenants every day - and this report makes clear the significant wider social impact that has.

“However, it’s also clear that there is still a staggering level of need for support with energy costs, and today’s announcement means that need is not going away. We need to see UK Government act to introduce a social tariff urgently, which would mean those least able to pay have discounted energy bills and are protected this winter.”

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