Fuel Poverty Matters - Minister to Address National Conference on Fuel Poverty

NK/EG/CMcA/9954

NEWS RELEASE
EMBARGO TO 00:01 Thur 3 November 2016

Fuel Poverty Matters
- Minister to Address National Conference on Fuel Poverty

Action to bring an end to fuel poverty and to ensure no-one in Scotland has to live in a cold, damp home will be the keynote message from the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP when he opens a national conference entitled ‘Fuel Poverty Matters’today (3 November).

The Minister is expected to outline the Scottish Government’s plans to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country over the coming years and how new devolved powers will put the Scottish Government in charge of delivering programmes to help mitigate the cost of energy for Scottish households.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: 

“Everyone should be able to heat their home and keep themselves and their families warm, therefore tackling and eradicating fuel poverty is vital and we must make sure action we are taking is making a difference to those that need it most.

"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.

“Energy Action Scotland has been a valued member of the Fuel Poverty Forum for a number of years and I look forward to continuing to work alongside them as we develop our approach to tackling fuel poverty."

Fuel poverty is a cross-cutting issue that impacts on housing, energy, health and consumer rights and so representatives from the private, public and third sectors will gather for this conference in Clydebank to discuss plans and solutions.

Director of Energy Action Scotland, Norman Kerr commented: “Our network has a wealth of knowledge and experience about what is happening on the ground in order to turn cold, damp houses into warm, dry homes.  This conference aims to help support plans for ending the blight of fuel poverty in Scotland.”

The input of the commercial sector for energy is essential and the conference is being supported by the gas distribution company SGN.

SGN’s Social Strategy Manager, Robbie Stevenson said: “We’re once again delighted to sponsor Energy Action Scotland’s annual conference, particularly at this milestone time as the Scottish Government finalises its future policy strategy for the eradication of fuel poverty.

“Raising awareness and delivering solutions to bring about the eradication of this totally unacceptable social blight in today’s society is essential. So I’m calling upon all the agencies at the conference to both collaborate together and coordinate efforts, to bring about real progress.”

Topics for discussion at the conference include new energy efficiency grant programmes, the rollout of smart meters, and support for consumers on low incomes.

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For further details contact:

For Energy Action Scotland: Elizabeth Gore, PR Manager on: 0141 226 3064 or email: e.gore@eas.org.uk  NB on 3 and 4 November contact only by mobile: 07764 212564.

For all SGN-related media enquiries, please contact the SGN Press Office on 0845 070 1811 or sgn.press.office@sgn.co.uk

For photo/interview opportunities:Members of the media are welcome to the conference venue or can contact Energy Action Scotland as above to make arrangements in advance/during the event.

Important:Media requests in relation to the Minister for Local Government and Housing should be directed to the Scottish Government Press Office.

The Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP will open the conference at 9.30am on Thursday 3 November 2016.

Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland will address conference in the opening session (times as for the Minister).

Denis Kerby, Director of Corporate Communications, SGN will also address conference in the opening session (times as for the Minister).

Conference Programme detailsare at: www.eas.org.uk

The venue is:The Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Beardmore Street, Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire G81 4SA.

Background notes:

1.  The Energy Action Scotland Annual Conference and Exhibition runs on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November 2016 at The Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Clydebank, G81 4SA.Details at:www.eas.org.uk

2.  Energy Action Scotland is the national charity which campaigns for an end to fuel poverty and works to promote warm, dry homes for all in Scotland.

3.  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.

4.  The main causes of fuel poverty are poor energy efficiency of the home, high domestic fuel prices and low household income.

5.  The official Scottish Government figures show that in 2014 there were 845,000 households in Scotland in fuel poverty ie 34.9%.  Source: Scottish House Conditions Survey 2014.

6.  The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a statutory duty on the Scottish Government to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that people are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland by November 2016.

7. SGN is sponsoring the Energy Action Scotland Annual Conference 2016.  SGN manages the network that distributes natural and green gas to 5.9 million homes and business across Scotland and the south of England. Their pipes deliver gas safely, reliably and efficiently to every one of their customers. The conference provides an excellent opportunity to discuss why fuel poverty matters and raise the awareness of the activities being undertaken by SGN.