Tackling fuel poverty in Scotland: a strategic approach

The fuel poverty strategy sets out policies and proposals for national government, local authorities and third sector partners to help meet the targets set out in the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019.


1. A household is defined as being in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime, total fuel costs necessary for the home are more than 10% of the household's adjusted net income (i. e. after housing costs), and if after deducting those fuel costs, benefits received for a care need or disability and childcare costs, the household's remaining adjusted net income is insufficient to maintain an acceptable standard of living. The remaining adjusted net income must be at least 90% of the UK Minimum Income Standard to be considered an acceptable standard of living with an additional amount added for households in remote rural, remote small town and island areas. If more than 20% of net income is needed, the household is defined as being in extreme fuel poverty.

2. Scottish Government (2021), Tackling Fuel Poverty in Scotland – A Strategic Approach – Technical Annex

3. Scottish Government (2020), Lived experience of fuel poverty: evidence review

4. Scottish Government (2020), Research into the lived experience of fuel poverty in Scotland

5. These costs have been estimated by undertaking SAP modelling using the National Household Model and applying an uncapped, minimum cost approach to achieving EPC B across fuel poor homes. A suitable package of measures was identified from those included at appendix x, and applied to the dwelling characteristics of fuel poor households as identified by the Scottish House Condition Survey. Further detail of this modelling exercise is included in the accompanying technical annex.

6. This metric is calculated as a function of the quantity of the energy required to meet the dwelling's space heating, water heating and lighting requirements, and the unit cost of the fuel in use. Given the higher unit cost of electricity relative to fossil fuels, including fuel prices in the Energy Efficiency Rating calculation serves to dis-incentivise the installation of net zero compatible heating technologies in that mains gas heating systems are likely to achieve a better EER than a zero emissions heating system in an equivalent building. Installing a zero emissions system could also lead to a worsening of the energy efficiency rating. As such, the current EPC framework is not compatible with incentivising the uptake of zero emissions heating.

7. It is targeted at those most at risk of the health impacts of living in a cold home – older people, people with disabilities, carers and families with children – with eligibility based on receipt of specific DWP benefits.

8. ABS projects provide the opportunity to combine investment by private and social landlords, ECO finance and owner occupiers.

9. Scottish Government (2021), Building Standards Domestic Technical Handbook (extract) Consultation proposals - Section 6 'Energy'

10. Citizens Advice Scotland (2018), Hard-Wired Problems | Citizens Advice Scotland (cas. org. uk)

11. Citizens Advice Scotland (2021), Fuel poverty advice and the protected characteristics: An analysis of data from the Citizens Advice network in Scotland | Citizens Advice Scotland (cas. org. uk)

12. Scottish Government (2020), Scottish House Condition Survey: 2019 Key Findings

13. A typical modern condensing gas boiler has an efficiency of 0. 9, compared to 2. 4 for an air source heat pump and 3. 4 for a ground source heat pump.

14. ClimateXChange (2021), Review of gas and electricity levies and their impact on low-carbon heating uptake

15. Competition and Markets Authority (2018), Heat Networks Market Study: Final Report

16. Citizens Advice Scotland (2021), Fuel poverty advice and the protected characteristics: An analysis of data from the Citizens Advice network in Scotland

17. Citizens Advice Scotland (2018), Speaking up: Understanding fuel poverty support needs

18. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2021), #KeepTheLifeline: urging the Government not to cut Universal Credit

19. Scottish Housing Regulator (2020), National Report on the Scottish Social Housing Charter - Headline Findings - 2019/20



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