Eradicating fuel poverty is crucial to achieving a fairer, socially just and sustainable Scotland. Realising this goal requires a new and ambitious approach. We have set out in this Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy how we intend to drive progress towards meeting the ambitious targets in the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill.
This landmark piece of legislation is a clear statement of the Scottish Government's determination to ending fuel poverty and tackling the inequalities which result in far too many households being forced to make the choice between having the heating on or cooking their dinner. Scotland is one of the few countries to define fuel poverty, let alone set a challenging goal to reduce it. Our legislation and our long term Strategy will place Scotland amongst the very best in the world in terms of tackling fuel poverty.
We are focussing on tackling poverty through the ambitious and concrete measures outlined in our Fairer Scotland Action Plan and Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, as well as our continued support for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
However, I am well aware there are other drivers of fuel poverty we have no control over. For example energy prices and polices driven by areas reserved to the UK Government, which make fuel poverty a distinctly different form of poverty to tackle.
Setting the ambitious aim that by 2040, no more than 5% of households in Scotland will be in fuel poverty acknowledges this, by recognising the reality that households can move in and out of fuel poverty as income and energy costs change over time.
The actions we are taking through this Draft Strategy will improve people’s lives, provide support to those who need it most and create jobs by giving industry the confidence it needs to invest in the energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures, that will be so crucial to delivering our aims.
Getting this right will be a shared endeavour between national and local government, businesses, the third sector, landlords, tenants, and home owners. We need to develop a detailed delivery plan together; and ensure robust reporting is put in place to be clear on the actions we are all taking to tackle fuel poverty. We are committed to developing this plan in partnership with the Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel, and ensuring that those expected to contribute to local reporting are fully involved in this process.
We are grateful to everyone who has taken part in the consultation which has led to this Draft Strategy’s publication. There is no single or quick fix, but as a government we are clear that by working together with our partners we can bring an end to fuel poverty. The actions outlined will be consulted on and reflected in a final Strategy document – including the views of our expert advisory groups. I’m confident that this will result in the most robust and universally recognised strategy to reduce fuel poverty that has ever been brought forward and look forward to working with everyone to end fuel poverty.
Minister for Local Government and Housing