6. Under the previous definition the enhanced heating regime was applied to households where:
a) at least one member has self-reported as having a physical or mental health condition or illness lasting or expected to last 12 months or more;
b) or, in the absence of the above, at least one member is aged 60 or over.
7. The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament on 11 June. This Bill sets ambitious targets to support our ambitions to eradicate fuel poverty. These are set out below:
- No more than 5% of households in Scotland in fuel poverty
- No more than 1% of households in Scotland in extreme fuel poverty
- The median fuel poverty gap of households in Scotland in fuel poverty is no more than £250 (in 2015 prices)
The 2040 targets above also apply, as far as reasonably possible, to households in each local authority area in Scotland.
- No more than 15% of households in Scotland in fuel poverty
- No more that 5% of households in Scotland in extreme fuel poverty
- The median fuel poverty gap of households in Scotland in fuel poverty is no more than £350 (in 2015 prices)
- No more than 10% of households in Scotland in fuel poverty
- No more than 3% of households in Scotland in fuel poverty
- The median fuel poverty gap on households in Scotland in fuel poverty is no more than £300 (in 2015 prices)
8. The Bill also sets out our new definition of fuel poverty that has been developed following extensive consultation and an evidence based review by the Scottish Fuel Poverty Definition Review Panel.
9. The new definition considers the fuel costs necessary to heat the home to the requisite temperature for the requisite time. It firstly considers whether the fuel costs exceed 10% of net household income, after housing costs have been deducted in the case of fuel poverty and 20% in the case of extreme fuel poverty. Secondly, it then deducts the fuel costs from household income and assesses if the household has sufficient income to maintain an “acceptable standard of living” once housing and childcare costs are deducted, as well as income from care and disability benefits. The ‘acceptable standard of living’ is based on the ‘minimum income standard (MIS)’ that is determined by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.
10. In order to measure levels of fuel poverty through the SHCS using the new definition we need to set out which households should have an enhanced heating regime applied, and ensure that the SHCS asks the necessary questions to accurately identify those households. We also need to set out the arrangements for the additional uplift for the MIS that will be applied to remote rural, remote small towns and island areas. Both of these aspects of the definition will be provided for in regulations.