Fuel poverty across Scotland, information and statistics: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/03619  
Date received: 3 December 2018
Date responded: 21 December 2018
Information requested
1.   What information the Scottish Government collects in raw data form about fuel poverty across Scotland?
2.   What information does the Scottish Government collect from local authorities on fuel poverty?
3.   What information does the Scottish Government collect from third sector organisations on fuel poverty?
4.   Since 2005 what statistics has the Scottish Government published on fuel poverty?
I have answered each of your questions in turn below.
1. What information the Scottish Government collects in raw data form about fuel poverty across Scotland?
Data to inform monitoring of fuel poverty across Scotland is collected via the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS), covering around 3,000 households every year. This consists of a social interview with householders and a physical inspection of the dwelling they occupy by a surveyor. The interview covers a range of topics, such as household characteristics, tenure, neighbourhood satisfaction, dwelling satisfaction, health status and income while the physical inspection records information on housing characteristics. Combined, the result is a powerful data set for examining the condition and characteristics of the dwellings alongside the views and experience of the people living in those dwellings. Further information about the survey can be found at:
The specific data collected through the survey which contributes to the monitoring of fuel poverty under the current definition are:
Household income – self-reported net income (after tax and national insurance) of the Highest Income Householder and their spouse or partner covering earned income (from employment, self-employment, part-time and casual work), income from benefits and income from other sources including student income, non-state pensions, investment income and any other regular non-work income.
Council tax, water and sewerage charges – the household’s self-reported spend on council tax, water and sewerage charges (or imputed if this information is missing) is deducted from its net income above to give the total household income used in monitoring fuel poverty.
Information about the number of people in the household, their age and whether or not they have a self-reported physical or mental health condition or illness lasting or expected to last 12 months or more.
Required energy consumption – modelled, using BREDEM 20121, on the basis of a given heating regime2 and other uses of energy in the home. Modelling takes account of the information about the occupants and the physical characteristics of the dwelling from the SHCS including age of the dwelling, number of rooms, floor area, wall construction, presence and thickness of insulation, type of glazing, size of windows, main heating fuel, main heating type (e.g. boiler) and efficiency, presence of low energy lights, solar energy and wind turbines. The model also takes account of standard information about the temperature, wind speed and solar irradiation in the region of the dwelling. Modelled energy consumption is combined with fuel price data to produce the modelled required fuel costs for the household.
1 BRE, BREDEM 2012: A technical description of the BRE Domestic Energy model http://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/bredem/BREDEM-2012-specification.pdf
2 Two types of heating regime are applied:
 Standard – living rooms (zone 1) are heated to 21°C and the rest of the dwelling is heated to 18°C for 9 hours during weekdays and 16 hours on weekends.
 Enhanced (where at least one person in the household is aged 60 or over and / or reports suffering from limiting long-term illness or disability) – living rooms (zone 1) are heated to 23°C and the rest of the dwelling is heated to 18°C for 16 hours each day of the week.
Under the current definition, this data is used to determine the overall rate of fuel poverty, including breakdowns by local authority and other household and dwelling characteristics. A household is considered to be in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime, it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use.
Further information on the data collected by the SHCS and the current methodology for measuring fuel poverty can be found in the survey methodology notes and the physical survey form at: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SHCS/Downloads.
The survey produces nationally representative estimates of fuel poverty (and breakdowns by household and dwelling characteristics) on an annual basis and estimates at a local authority level by combining three years’ of data. Details of published reports providing these data are provided below in answer to your fourth question.
The Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 26 June 2018 and puts forward a new definition of fuel poverty. The current definition remains the official measure until this Bill achieves Royal Assent. National measurement of fuel poverty will continue to be through the annual SHCS once the new definition is in place. This requires additional information, collected via the survey, on childcare costs, housing costs and the income of other adults in the household. Further details of the proposed new definition can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/108916.aspx.
2. What information does the Scottish Government collect from local authorities on fuel poverty?
No information is collected from local authorities in relation to households living in fuel poverty. Under the current legislation (Housing (Scotland) Act 2001), data is collected on activity undertaken in relation to fuel poverty to feed into the 4-yearly Fuel Poverty Statement (links provided in answer to question 4). This includes details of investment in fuel poverty, partnerships with other organisations, expected numbers of energy efficiency measures installed, current actions being taken in relation to fuel poverty, successes and lessons learned.
In addition, data from Fuel Poverty schemes, such as the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland Area Based Schemes, is collected covering details of the numbers and types of energy efficiency measures installed and these are presented in annual reports to which links are, again, provided in answer 4.
3. What information does the Scottish Government collect from third sector organisations on fuel poverty?
Information is currently collected from the Energy Savings Trust on Warmer Homes Scotland programme delivery. This includes data on energy efficiency measures installed and households helped. No information is directly collected on fuel poverty levels.
4. Since 2005 what statistics has the Scottish Government published on fuel poverty?
National Statistics on fuel poverty are published annually in the Scottish House Condition (SHCS) Survey Key Findings reports. Publications covering the period 2005 to 2017 can be found at:
A range of thematic reports covering aspects of fuel poverty (and including statistics) have also been produced and can be accessed at the above link. These reports cover:
 The likelihood of being fuel poor in rural Scotland (October 2016).
 Local indicators of fuel poverty (August 2014).
 Fuel poverty evidence review (August 2012).
 Energy use in the home (August 2012).
 Fuel poor households in Scotland (March 2008).
Statistics on fuel poverty are also presented in the Housing and Regeneration Outcome Indicators at:
Local authority tables are produced on an annual basis (by combining three years’ of data) and include fuel poverty information. Tables covering the period of interest can be found at:
Annual reports on the HEEPS schemes, including Warmer Homes Scotland (number and types of measures installed, fuel bill and carbon savings) and its predecessor can also be found at the following links:
HEEPS Annual Delivery Report 2016/2017
HEEPS Annual Delivery Report 2015/2016
HEEPS Annual Delivery Report 2014/2015
HEEPS Annual Delivery Report 2013/2014
Home Energy Programmes Report 2009/2013 text
Home Energy Programmes Report 2019/2013 Excel
Finally, statistics on fuel poverty are included in the 4-yearly progress reports on the Scottish Fuel Poverty Statement 2002. The latest progress report can be found at:
In addition to the above, some statistics have also been made available in relation to the proposed new definition of fuel poverty. These can be found in the equalities impact assessments accompanying the Bill and draft fuel poverty strategy at:
The links above cover all of the primary publications produced by the Scottish Government in relation to Fuel Poverty. Other parts of the Scottish Government may include statistics in publications such as the Rural Scotland Key Facts. However, these do not contain new information or statistics that are not otherwise available from the underlying SHCS data or publications.
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Central Enquiry Unit 
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

The Scottish Government 
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