The charity made the call as official figures from the Scot-Govt. showed a 400% increase in ‘excess’ winter deaths – where many poor and elderly consumers face lethal consequences of fuel-poverty.
The Housing Act 2001 places a statutory duty on the Scottish Government to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that people are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland by November 2016.
But with fuel poverty levels on the up, and the target date just one year away, many believe the target will be missed. Campaigners like Energy Action Scotland want Scottish Ministers to open discussions now about how they can realistically meet their target.
The latest figures for seasonal winter deaths – known as excess winter deaths – from the National Records for Scotland show that 4,060 people died needlessly in the last winter in Scotland often due to cold-related causes.
Norman Kerr, Director, Energy Action Scotland, said: “The huge rise in the number of excess winter deaths in Scotland stresses the fact that much more needs to be done to end the blight of cold, damp homes that people can’t afford to heat.
“There are a lot of people who have experience of living in fuel poverty. There are a number who are already delivering solutions to the problem. All we want to know what the Scottish Government’s strategy is.
“We urge the Scottish Government to set out now what needs to be done to move forward towards the goal of eradicating cold homes in Scotland.
“In Challenge Poverty Week, we are encouraging government at all levels to increase the priority they give to making the energy we use to heat and power our homes affordable.”
Energy Action Scotland is the national charity which campaigns for an end to fuel poverty and works to promote warm, dry homes for all in Scotland. It is due to hold its annual conference on 12-13 November in Peebles.
Fuel poverty is the inability to afford adequate warmth in the home, defined as needing to pay more than 10 per cent of income on energy costs.
The main causes of fuel poverty are poor energy efficiency of the home, high domestic fuel prices and low household income.
Official Scottish Government figures show there are 940,000 households in Scotland in fuel poverty – 39%.