A new definition of fuel poverty in Scotland: review of recent evidence

A report by a panel of independent experts who conducted a review of the definition of fuel poverty in Scotland.


1. Sections 1.1 to 1.4 are taken largely verbatim from the background briefing which the Review Panel were provided with at the start of this process.

2. Full details on the definition of fuel poverty and how it is implemented in the SHCS are available in the following publication: SHCS 2015 Methodology Notes .

3. The Final Report of the Fuel Poverty Review by John Hills.

4. Recommendation 42

5. Recommendation 44

6. Utilities include heating, electricity, gas, and refuse collection.

7. Predictive validity refers the extent to which scores on a particular metric or test predict scores on something known to be highly correlated with it. For example, to assess the predictive validity of a new test for educational achievement, it would be expected that the results would show a strong correlation with school examination scores as well as with teacher ratings of a student's educational ability. We return to the issue of predictive validity in Chapter 7, more specifically in the context of Scottish data and definitions of fuel poverty.

8. The capabilities framework is discussed in Chapters 2, 3 and 6 of the Report.

9. This type of Homecare service is being piloted by Home Energy Scotland in around 220 rural households. The project will be evaluated by HES and University of Edinburgh (ClimateXChange: SEEP Pilots' Evaluation, https://goo.gl/kNhkj7) and findings will contribute to future strategy.

10. In this Chapter, the term income poor derives from the Scottish definition of poverty: households with less than 60% of the median income.

11. There are some discontinuities in the underlying method for Annual Running Costs as follows: figures for 2011 and 2012 allow for Warm Home Discount ( WHD) adjustment only; 2013 includes WHD and price source adjustments; 2014 and 2015 include WHD and price source adjustment and an updated BREDEM model.

12. LIHC's bias towards including large homes as fuel poor is evident in the fact that average dwelling size for English households in LIHC fuel poverty is 99.4 m 2 compared to an average dwelling size of 90.9 m 2and 65.6 m 2 for all other low income homes (Moore, pers. comm.).

13. Although she frequently emphasises that her concerns are with 'mainly heat'.

14. We acknowledge that this will require an increasing emphasis on cooling homes, particularly in urban areas of Scotland. However, recent modelling of climate change to 2080 indicates that the need to cool homes in the UK will not alter the current requirements for heating them - the burden of cold is greater than the burden of increasing temperatures throughout the modelled period (Hajat et al., 2014).

15. In England, fuel poverty is estimated on the basis that only 50% of under-occupied rooms need heat.

16. Scotland defines households in marginal fuel poverty as having required energy costs of over 8 to 10% of income.

17. The Panel is grateful to Alan Ferguson, Chairperson of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum, for this point.

18. http://www.parliament.scot/ResearchBriefingsAndFactsheets/S4/SB_15-13_Fuel_Poverty_in_Scotland.pdf

19. http://www.gov.scot/publications/national-infrastructure-priority-energy-efficiency-scotlands-energy-efficiency-programme//1

20. England, Wales and Northern Ireland define ' most rooms' as 'all occupied rooms other than the living room', whilst Scotland defines 'most rooms' as ' all rooms other than the living room'. This issue of so-called ' under-occupancy' is dealt with in Chapter 4.

21. For example, dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

22. Long-term sickness or disability.

23. In fuel poverty discourse, this is known as the rebound effect (e.g. Herring & Roy (2007): 'Many consumers, realising that the [energy now costs less to use], are less concerned about switching it off…Thus they 'take back' some of the energy savings in the form of higher levels of energy service… This is particularly the case in households that suffer from 'fuel poverty' where the past level of energy services, such as space heating, are, or were considered, inadequate. Some or all of the energy savings from efficiency improvements, such as increased levels of insulation or a more efficient heating system, may then be spent on higher heating standards - the consumer benefits by getting a warmer home for the same or lower cost than previously. Such rebound effects are not theoretical; they have been observed or measured in empirical studies (e.g. Hong et al., 2006). Recent reviews suggest that more than a third of potential energy saving after retrofit is not realised because it is 'taken back' in the form of raising indoor temperatures (e.g. CFU for Scotland, 2016; Galvin, 2015)'.

24. WHO consider ' old' as aged 65 years or more; they do not define what age people become ' very old'. A threshold could be set based on other Scottish policies designed to assist the oldest citizens.

25. Items were selected a priori. A priori means that a test is carried out solely because there is prior knowledge or deductive reasoning to support their inclusion in analysis.

26. Warwick and Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale - one of the most highly regarded short scales of mental wellbeing, and one used frequently to assess the impacts of improving the energy efficiency of people's homes.

27. For BEIS methodology on income equivalisation (using OECD scale) and fuel costs equivalisation, see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/623154/Fuel_Poverty_Methodology_Handbook.pdf (p. 56 and p. 58).

28. Omitting two items, relating to damp and heating/warmth, which are treated as adverse outcomes of fuel poverty rather than as indicators of poverty in the definition.

29. Income after housing cost, equivalised using PSE equivalisation scale, which is based on MIS; £304pw is the estimated critical income level at which deprivations tend to exceed 3, and as such forms part of the definition of ' PSE Poor'.

30. While the prevalence in Scotland would appear to be 1-2% lower than in UK, the PSE analysis may underestimate required fuel costs in some cases.

31. This version of AHC low income uses a different equivalisation, based on MIS rather than OECD.

32. Full details on the definition of fuel poverty and how it is implemented in the SHCS are available in the following publication: SHCS 2015 Methodology Notes .

33. The Final Report of the Fuel Poverty Review by John Hills.


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