First Comprehensive Study of Scottish Projects Dealing with the Health Implications of Fuel Poverty

Embargo: For immediate use – Thursday 02 February 2017

Contacts: Neil Baldwin and Susie Rose - 0844 515 2442 for Shelter Scotland

or Elizabeth Gore – 0141 226 3064/ 07764 212 564 for Energy Action Scotland

 

FIRST COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF SCOTTISH PROJECTS DEALING WITH THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF FUEL POVERTY

- More consistent support needed

The vital and sometimes life-saving work carried out by dozens of organisations across Scotland that tackle health issues caused by fuel poverty has been mapped in a new report published today, Thursday 02 February 2017.

‘Health-Related Fuel Poverty Schemes in Scotland’ (1) has been co-authored by Shelter Scotland and Energy Action Scotland.

The authors say they hope the learnings from the report – such as the difficulties in accessing what can be short-term, ad hoc funding and dealing with data-protection issues – will lead to a more cohesive, national approach for tackling fuel poverty-related health issues.

The report paints a picture of dozens of schemes working to alleviate the effects of fuel poverty-related health issues – from East Sutherland to Orkney and from Glasgow to Fife.

The benefits of health-related fuel poverty schemes are many – including better health for the householder which links to fewer GP visits, fewer hospital admissions, fewer days spent in hospital as well as financial savings. They can also mean fewer days lost at school or work due to absence through ill health. These benefits push the case for the schemes to be better coordinated on a national level and for funding to be more consistent and less ad-hoc in nature.

Adam Lang, Head of Communications and Policy at Shelter Scotland, says:

“The effects of fuel poverty and living in a cold and damp home are well documented – in particular they cause cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health problems. Children in cold homes are also twice as likely to suffer respiratory problems.

“Therefore, we think it’s vital that organisations working to help mitigate the profound and sometimes crippling effects of fuel poverty on people’s health are given more consistent support and that a more strategic view is taken at a national level.

“The impact of fewer visits to GPs, fewer hospital admissions and less time spent in hospital as well as financial savings is not only of great benefit to the people helped but also takes some of the pressure off our stretched health services.”

Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland, comments:

“This year the Scottish Government is reviewing its fuel poverty strategy and consulting on its plans for new action through ‘Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme’. Their strategy and plans must put health and fuel poverty links at the heart of efforts. Preventing poor health by tackling fuel poverty provides multiple benefits and helps government to achieve its targets as well as improving the wellbeing of people across the country.

“Scottish Ministers are due to respond to the recent reports by its two fuel poverty working groups. Both groups emphasised the importance of addressing health and wellbeing in the context of fuel poverty and in using locally-based and well-trusted service providers, such as those schemes and projects highlighted in the new catalogue, to help deliver much needed assistance.”

“The new catalogue shows that so much valuable work is going on at ground level which makes a real difference to people’s lives and this needs to be better supported by government.”

Ends/

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. ‘Health-Related Fuel Poverty Schemes in Scotland report
  2. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. For advice and support visit www.shelterscotland.org or call 0808 800 4444.
  3. Spokespeople are available for interview - call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
  4. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/shelterscotland Twitter http://twitter.com/shelterscotland

Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.

About Energy Action Scotland

  • Energy Action Scotland is the national charity which campaigns to end fuel poverty and works to promote warm, dry homes for all. Website: www.eas.org.uk
  • There are currently around 748,000 households (30.7 per cent) in fuel poverty in Scotland (source: Scottish House Condition Survey).
  • Fuel poverty is the inability to afford adequate warmth in the home, defined as needing to pay more than 10 per cent of income on energy costs.
  • The main causes of fuel poverty are poor energy efficiency of the home, high domestic fuel prices and low household income.