Key Recommendations on Fuel Poverty from Energy Action Scotland

In November 2016 the statutory duty placed on the Scottish Government to end fuel poverty must be met. Within this context, EAS has produced the following key recommendations for further discussion.

1.   Reset the Target to End Fuel Poverty

Discussions on how to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland must be opened now.  A new target that is realistic but ambitious must be set.  It must be accompanied by a fuel poverty strategy and action plan with costs and timelines.  It is essential that there is not a hiatus following the passing of the 2016 target date, which is now widely regarded as being unachievable.

2.   Fund Fuel Poverty Programmes

In 2006 Energy Action Scotland estimated that £200 million per year each year for ten years would be required, from a variety of sources, to tackle fuel poverty.  This level of expenditure has not been achieved and must now be re-evaluated.  It is acknowledged that the Scottish Government does continue to fund fuel poverty programmes with a positive impact.  Programmes designed to reduce fuel poverty across all parts of Scotland must continue to be funded.  However, more timely and more comprehensive public reporting to ensure progress is being made is also required.

3.    Consult Early on Energy Efficiency in the Private Sector

Moves to improve energy efficiency standards in private sector homes were shelved by the Scottish Government in 2015.  Energy Action Scotland believes it is important not to lose momentum on this initiative and urges the Scottish Government to act early in the new parliamentary session.  In particular, tenants in the private rented sector, where high levels of fuel poverty are experienced, should have similar support to that given to tenants in the social rented sector.

4.    Pledge to make Fuel Poverty a Central Pillar of SEEP

As a result of making energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority, the Scottish Government says it will create Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP).  Energy Action Scotland believes the Scottish Government must pledge from the outset that a sizable proportion of SEEP will be directed at home energy efficiency and at the poorest households in particular.  Reducing fuel poverty must be at least equal in priority to reducing carbon.

5.    Review New Devolved Powers in Relation to Fuel Poverty

Carry out a review of new devolved powers for Scotland in light of their contribution to tackling fuel poverty in a comprehensive new fuel poverty strategy.

6.   Create a Fuel Poverty Cross-Departmental Group and a Cross-Party Group

Fuel poverty is a cross-cutting issue encompassing housing standards, energy affordability, low income, health impacts, advice and debt support services among others.  Energy Action Scotland therefore believes the Scottish Government should set up a cross-departmental group, chaired by a Minister, to ensure a better understanding that tackling fuel poverty achieves positive outcomes and cost savings across government.  Moreover, the creation of a Cross-Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Domestic Energy Efficiency is long overdue in the Scottish Parliament.

Energy Action Scotland contact: 0141 226 3064 or info@eas.org.uk