Publication - Publication

Fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty: estimates

Published: 14 May 2019
Directorate:
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781787818286

This publication provides the latest estimates of Fuel Poverty and Extreme Fuel Poverty under the proposed new definition, following the amendments agreed at Stage 2 of the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill.

19 page PDF

566.0 kB

19 page PDF

566.0 kB

Contents
Fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty: estimates
A comparison of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty rates between the current and proposed new definition, across a range of household and dwelling characteristics for 2017.

19 page PDF

566.0 kB

A comparison of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty rates between the current and proposed new definition, across a range of household and dwelling characteristics for 2017.

There was very little change in the overall fuel poverty rate in 2017 under the proposed new definition (23.7%) compared with the current definition (24.9%). However the rate of extreme fuel poverty increased from 7.0% to 11.9%.

The impact of the new definition in 2017 was similar to that which was previously identified based on the 2016 and 2015 Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) data, which were published in Equality Impact Assessments[2]. However, the analysis in this paper is for a wider range of household and dwelling characteristics and also includes comparisons of rates of extreme fuel poverty.

There was a substantial decrease in fuel poverty rates in rural areas between the current definition (43%) and the new definition (29%), which can be explained by the introduction of an income threshold under the new definition. However, there was little change in the rate of extreme fuel poverty in rural areas between the current definition (16%) and the new definition (19%). This means that the gap between the fuel poverty rate and extreme fuel poverty rate in rural areas was narrower under the new definition than the current definition. This suggests that around two thirds of rural households that are still in fuel poverty after the income threshold has been applied, are experiencing extreme fuel poverty.

In urban areas, fuel poverty rates were slightly higher under the new definition (23%) than the current definition (21%), and extreme fuel poverty rates also saw an increase, from 5% under the current definition to 10% under the new definition.

Under the new definition, almost half of all fuel poor households (47%) were 'other' household types (where all adults are under 65 with no children), while around a third were older households and 17% were families. This is a shift from the current definition where older households made up around half of fuel poor households, over a third were other households, and families made up 11% of fuel poor households.

For older households, the new definition showed lower fuel poverty rates than the current definition (39% under the current definition and 26% under the new definition in 2017), while the opposite trend was seen for families and 'other' households (where all adults are under 65 with no children). For 'other' household types, fuel poverty was at 21% under the current definition and 26% under the new definition and for families was at 12% under the current definition and 17% under the new definition. Extreme fuel poverty rates were higher under the new definition than the current definition for all household types, with the largest increase seen for other households (up from 6% under the current definition to 13% under the new definition).

The new definition resulted in higher fuel poverty rates than the current definition for households in the social sector and private rented sector, and this was also true for extreme fuel poverty, although for private rented homes the magnitude of the change was larger (from 8% under the current definition to 24% under the new definition), than for social rented homes (6% under the current definition and 16% under the new definition).

Local Authority and Housing Association homes showed higher fuel poverty rates under the new definition than the current definition, and this trend was also observed for extreme fuel poverty for these households. Households that were owned outright showed much lower fuel poverty rates under the new definition (from 35% under the current definition to 18% under the new definition), however the change in extreme fuel poverty rates for owned outright households was small (12% under the current definition and 11% under the new definition). For mortgaged households, the change in fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty rates was very small.

Dwellings in the most efficient EPC bands (B-C) showed increases in both fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty rates (fuel poverty up from 13% under the current definition to 20% under the new definition, and extreme fuel poverty up from 2% to 7%). This trend will have been driven by the characteristics of people living in these houses, rather than energy efficiency itself. The people living in the most energy efficient homes who are brought into fuel poverty under the new definition would have had higher housing costs relative to income, which increases the proportion of their after housing cost income spent on fuel, as well as having low incomes. The fuel poverty rate showed relatively large decreases for households living in lower energy efficiency bands (E, F & G), and extreme fuel poverty showed a modest increase for dwellings in Band E from 16% to 21%. For dwellings in Bands F and G, there was no change in the extreme fuel poverty rate, with the rate remaining high at 38%, although the fuel poverty rate for these households did decrease from 69% to 45% between the current and new definition.

The breakdown by net weekly income bands showed that the poorest households (where net income was <£200 per week) had lower rates of fuel poverty under the current definition (88%) than the new definition (93%), and a substantially higher rate of extreme fuel poverty (up from 39% under the current definition to 67% under the new definition). Where net income was £200-£300 per week, there was an increase in fuel poverty, albeit to a lesser extent than the bottom income band, from 51% under the current definition to 55% under the new definition, and a corresponding increase in extreme fuel poverty (from 11% under the current definition to 22% under the new definition). All households with higher income bands (i.e. above £300 per week) showed lower fuel poverty rates under the new definition than the current definition, and no change in extreme fuel poverty rates.

Detached homes showed lower fuel poverty under the new definition (17%) than the current definition (29%), with no change in extreme fuel poverty rates (11% under both definitions). Semi-detached dwellings also saw a decrease in fuel poverty rates, albeit to a lesser extent than detached dwellings, from 26% under the current definition to 20% under the new definition, while extreme fuel poverty rates were slightly up (from 6% under the current definition to 11% under the new definition). Terraced dwellings showed no change in fuel poverty rates, but an increase in extreme fuel poverty (from 6% under the current definition to 10% under the new definition). Tenement flats and other flats showed higher fuel poverty rates and extreme fuel poverty rates under the new definition than the current definition.

Fuel poverty rates were lower under the new definition for dwellings built before 1919 and those built between 1965 and 1982, whilst other types of dwellings saw higher fuel poverty rates under the new definition. Extreme fuel poverty increased across all dwelling types.

Fuel poverty rates were slightly higher under the new definition for dwellings with gas as a primary heating fuel (19% under the current definition and 21% under the new definition), however much lower fuel poverty rates were observed under the new definition for dwellings with oil, electricity, or other fuel types as a primary heating fuel. Extreme fuel poverty rates were higher under the new definition for dwellings with gas, electricity, or other fuel types as the primary heating fuel, while those with oil as a primary heating fuel showed similar fuel poverty rates under both definitions.

Dwellings in the 15% most deprived areas according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, saw higher fuel poverty rates under the new definition (27%) than the current definition (21%) and extreme fuel poverty rates were also higher for these households (up from 3% under the current definition to 9% under the new definition). For dwellings not in those areas, fuel poverty rates were slightly lower under the new definition (26% under the current definition and 23% under the new definition), but extreme fuel poverty rates were higher (8% under the current definition and 12% under the new definition).

Dwellings off the gas grid see a noticeable decrease in fuel poverty rates, from 38% under the current definition to 26% under the new definition, however extreme fuel poverty rates increased slightly for these dwellings, from 15% under the current definition to 17% under the new definition. A different pattern was observed for dwellings on the gas grid, with both fuel poverty rates and extreme fuel poverty rates seeing relatively small increases between the current and new definitions (fuel poverty up from 22% under the current definition to 23% under the new definition and extreme fuel poverty rate up from 5% under the current definition to 11% under the new definition).

Tables 1 and 2 below show the fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty rates under the current and the new definitions of fuel poverty, for various household and dwelling characteristics.

Table 1: Fuel Poverty Rates (2017) comparing the current and proposed new definition

Current definition Proposed definition
Number of fuel poor households (thousands) % of households who are fuel poor Number of fuel poor households (thousands) % of households who are fuel poor
Total 613 24.9% 583 23.7%
Household Type
Older households 316 39% 211 26%
Families 70 12% 100 17%
Other households 228 21% 272 26%
Location
Urban overall 438 21% 464 23%
Large urban 148 17% 182 21%
Other urban 191 22% 195 23%
Accessible small towns 62 28% 55 24%
Small remote towns 37 42% 32 36%
Rural overall 175 43% 119 29%
Accessible rural 89 34% 62 23%
Remote rural 87 59% 57 39%
Tenure
Owned 289 35% 150 18%
Mortgaged 60 9% 56 8%
LA / public 104 28% 146 39%
HA / coop 66 26% 99 39%
PRS 95 28% 132 39%
Private 444 24% 338 18%
Social 170 27% 245 39%
EPC Band (SAP 2012)
B-C 137 13% 208 20%
D 267 26% 238 23%
E 130 46% 84 30%
F-G 80 69% 53 45%
Household Income (weekly)
<£200 221 88% 240 93%
£200-£300 209 51% 222 55%
£300-£400 93 24% 83 22%
£400-£500 49 15% 23 7%
£500-£700 29 6% 12 3%
£700+ 12 2% 2 0%
Dwelling Type
Detached 161 29% 96 17%
Semi-detached 124 26% 98 20%
Terraced 136 25% 134 25%
Tenement 112 20% 167 29%
Other flats 80 26% 88 28%
Dwelling Age
Pre-1919 154 33% 115 25%
1919-1944 83 29% 85 29%
1945-1964 136 25% 144 27%
1965-1982 142 28% 120 23%
Post-1982 98 15% 118 18%
Primary Heating Fuel
Gas 379 19% 414 21%
Oil 58 40% 39 27%
Electric 151 52% 110 38%
Other 26 41% 20 32%
SIMD: Most Deprived 15%
Yes 84 21% 107 27%
No 529 26% 476 23%
Gas Grid
On 451 22% 474 23%
Off 163 38% 109 26%

Table 2: Extreme fuel Poverty Rates (2017) comparing the current and proposed new definition

Current definition Proposed definition
Number of extreme fuel poor households (thousands) % of households who are in extreme fuel poverty Number of extreme fuel poor households (thousands) % of households who are in extreme fuel poverty
Total 174 7.0% 293 11.9%
Household Type
Older households 93 12% 119 15%
Families 15 3% 36 6%
Other households 66 6% 138 13%
Location
Urban overall 107 5% 215 10%
Large urban 42 5% 95 11%
Other urban 42 5% 79 9%
Accessible small towns 15 7% 26 11%
Small remote towns 8 9% 16 18%
Rural overall 67 16% 78 19%
Accessible rural 35 13% 40 15%
Remote rural 32 22% 38 26%
Tenure
Owned 97 12% 88 11%
Mortgaged 15 2% 27 4%
LA / public 18 5% 53 14%
HA / coop 16 7% 45 18%
PRS 26 8% 80 24%
Private 139 8% 195 11%
Social 35 6% 98 16%
EPC Band (SAP 2012)
B-C 26 2% 73 7%
D 58 6% 117 11%
E 45 16% 58 21%
F-G 44 38% 44 38%
Household Income (weekly)
<£200 99 39% 172 67%
£200-£300 44 11% 89 22%
£300-£400 24 6% 23 6%
£400-£500 5 2% 6 2%
£500-£700 2 0% 3 1%
£700+ - 0% 1 0%
Dwelling Type
Detached 63 11% 62 11%
Semi-detached 31 6% 53 11%
Terraced 33 6% 55 10%
Tenement 31 5% 85 15%
Other flats 16 5% 38 12%
Dwelling Age
Pre-1919 58 13% 76 16%
1919-1944 25 9% 47 16%
1945-1964 32 6% 60 11%
1965-1982 33 6% 54 11%
Post-1982 25 4% 55 8%
Primary Heating Fuel
Gas 84 4% 178 9%
Oil 26 18% 27 18%
Electric 56 19% 77 26%
Other 7 12% 12 20%
SIMD: Most Deprived 15%
Yes 12 3% 35 9%
No 161 8% 258 12%
Gas Grid
On 111 5% 221 11%
Off 62 15% 73 17%

Contact

Email: esther.laird@gov.scot