Scottish government to consider new recommendations for tackling fuel poverty
Scotland is to consider reviewing the current definition of fuel poverty as part of a series of recommendations drawn from new independent reviews of the issue.
The Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group and Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force have published reports outlining more than 100 suggestions for how fuel poverty could be tackled across the country with a fresh commitment to energy efficiency.
Four high-level recommendations were made by the Strategic Working Group, calling for the Scottish government's fuel poverty strategy to be based on the principle of social justice, while addressing all four drivers of fuel poverty: income, energy costs, energy performance and how energy is used in the home.
Strong, collaborative leadership on this issue was called for, with a specific recommendation to review the current definition of fuel poverty and establish a policy objective and monitoring programme to addresses the four causes of the problem.
The Rural Fuel Poverty Task highlighted similar issues, with other suggestions from the two reports including the fast-tracking of solutions for the most financially disadvantaged, increased collaboration between the UK government and Ofgem, and the promotion and support of initiatives by new electricity providers to offer better prices and customer care services to prepaid meter users.
At present, it is estimated that around 50 per cent of rural households in Scotland are affected by fuel poverty, making this a high-priority issue for the Scottish government to address.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: "We are committed to eradicating fuel poverty. Since 2008, over one million energy efficiency measures have been installed in almost one million households across Scotland, which has helped make homes warmer and easier to heat.
"We will build on this by investing half a billion pounds over the next four years to continue tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency."