Following the recommendations of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group and the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force in late 2016, Ministers appointed an independent panel of academic experts to review the existing fuel poverty definition. The report produced by the Fuel Poverty Definition Review Panel at the end of last year made several recommendations, the main components of which we will implement.
We launched a public consulted on "A Fuel Poverty Strategy for Scotland" in November 2017 (this closed in February 2018) and sought views on a new approach, including a new statutory target and the proposed new definition of fuel poverty. Responses were analysed and considered along with other available evidence to help inform the development of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, which is scheduled to be introduced to Parliament in summer 2018. A draft fuel poverty strategy will be published in summer 2018.
The Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, sets a new long-term target, that by the year 2040 no more than 5% of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty. The Bill will be fundamentally based on the Scottish Government's principles of fairness and equality for all, and as such will be set within the overarching agenda set out by the Fairer Scotland Action Plan.
The overarching ambition the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill is to see more households in Scotland living in well-insulated warm homes, accessing affordable, low carbon energy; and having an increased understanding of how to best use energy efficiently in their homes.
The draft fuel poverty strategy will demonstrate links with wider policy and delivery mechanisms, including current and future energy efficiency programmes, health strategies and welfare reform. This also links to wider priorities including reducing health inequalities, empowering communities, growing a sustainable economy, including in rural areas and reducing carbon emissions.
It will also set out how delivery of the long term fuel poverty target will be achieved and, set out a monitoring framework to oversee progress in meeting the target.
In addition, both the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill and the draft fuel poverty strategy will be aligned with the Child Poverty Bill and the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-2022 published in March 2018 and the overarching agenda of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan to ensure that actions taken to tackle fuel poverty will have a positive impact people, no matter where they live in Scotland.