Eradicating fuel poverty

New strategy to make homes safer, warmer and cheaper to heat.

A 20-year vision to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland has been published.

The Fuel Poverty Strategy sets out a range of comprehensive actions that will be taken to tackle the drivers of fuel poverty and meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to eradicate it as far as reasonably possible by 2040.

These include:

  • Maximising the benefit of our heat in buildings investment programmes to support people in or at risk of fuel poverty to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat
  • Driving up energy efficiency standards through regulation, delivering a new Housing Standard and a review of energy efficiency standards in social housing;
  • Pressing the UK Government to change their approach to the operation of energy markets to provide effective, flexible support for fuel poor households;
  • Ensuring all households in fuel poverty have access to high quality, impactful advice;
  • Providing targeted support for those unable to afford the energy they need, those who need greater warmth, and those facing specific barriers to getting out of fuel poverty.

In addition, Scottish Ministers have appointed a new statutory Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel to monitor and evaluate the Strategy and provide expert advice to government.

The Panel will be chaired by consumer champion, Matthew Cole, who leads the independent Fuel Bank Foundation with the Trussell Trust and has worked across the utility sector to support the most vulnerable in society.

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“A safe, warm place to call home is one of our fundamental basic needs. But despite Scotland being a wealthy, prosperous nation, fuel poverty persists - driven by a complex range of factors including poor energy efficiency of the home, low household income, high energy prices and transmission charges and how energy is used in the home.

“That is why this Government is committed to tackling the root causes of fuel poverty by publishing the Fuel Poverty Strategy, putting people at the heart of Scotland’s transition to net zero.

“Over the last eight years, we have spent £1 billion on tackling fuel poverty – with £114 million allocated this year alone on our programmes targeted at improving energy efficiency for those in fuel poverty.

“And as part of our Heat in Buildings programme, we are making available at least £1.8 billion over this parliament to help decarbonise our buildings so that homes are warmer and cheaper to heat helping to ensure that poor energy efficiency is removed as a driver of fuel poverty.”

Chair of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel Matthew Cole said:

“In 2019, one in four households in Scotland were in fuel poverty, and that number is only set to rise as the effect of high wholesale energy costs feeds through into household energy bills.

“I have seen first-hand the impact of living in a cold home, and so I am delighted to have been asked to lead the Panel and to work with Ministers and the Scottish Government on the Fuel Poverty Strategy.”


Read the Fuel Poverty Strategy 2021.

In 2019, just under 25% of households were in fuel poverty.

The Fuel Poverty Act 2019 enshrines in law the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle the drivers of fuel poverty and ensure no household is unable to afford to meet their reasonable energy needs.

The Act sets a target that, by 2040, as far as reasonably possible no household in Scotland is in fuel poverty and, in any event, no more than 5% of households will be in fuel poverty, no more than 1% should be in extreme fuel poverty and the median fuel poverty gap should be no more than £250 (adjusted for 2015 prices).

The Act defines a household to be in fuel poverty if more than 10% of its net income (after housing costs) is required to heat the home and pay for other fuel costs and the income remaining after deducting housing, fuel costs, childcare costs and some benefits, cannot provide an acceptable standard of living. If more than 20% of net income is needed, the household is defined as being in extreme fuel poverty.

Read more about the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel.


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