Action to bring an end to fuel poverty and to ensure no-one in Scotland has to live in a cold, damp home will be the keynote message from the Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP when he opens the national conference – ‘Fuel Poverty Matters’ – today.
Energy experts have warned that the pound’s deteriorating value and pressures on wholesale costs following the vote for British Independence from the EU-bloc could lead to energy suppliers introducing a 5% rise in electricity bills this winter, costing 18 million families on standard tariffs an extra £465 million a year.
Stewart is expected to outline the Scottish Government’s plans to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country over the coming years and how new devolved powers will put the Scottish Government in charge of delivering programmes to help mitigate the cost of energy for Scottish households.
Fuel poverty is a cross-cutting issue that impacts on housing, energy, health and consumer rights and so representatives from the private, public and third sectors will gather for this conference in Clydebank to discuss plans and solutions.
Official Scottish Government figures show that in 2014 there were 845,000 households in Scotland in fuel poverty ie 34.9% Source: Scottish House Conditions Survey 2014.
Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland – which is organising the two-day conference – commented: “Our network has a wealth of knowledge and experience about what is happening on the ground in order to turn cold, damp houses into warm, dry homes. This conference aims to help support plans for ending the blight of fuel poverty in Scotland.”
Other topics for discussion at the conference include new energy efficiency grant programmes, the rollout of smart meters, and support for consumers on low incomes
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Everyone should be able to heat their home and keep themselves and their families warm, therefore tackling and eradicating fuel poverty is vital and we must make sure action we are taking is making a difference to those that need it most.
“Since 2008 over one million energy efficiency measures have been installed in almost one million households across Scotland which has helped make homes warmer and easier to heat. We will build on this by investing half a billion pounds over the next four years to continue tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.
“Energy Action Scotland has been a valued member of the Fuel Poverty Forum for a number of years and I look forward to continuing to work alongside them as we develop our approach to tackling fuel poverty.”