With wintry weather still gripping the country, the new fuel poverty figures for each local authority in Scotland highlight the scale of the problem which many households face to keep themselves and their families warm at home, according to the national charity Energy Action Scotland.
These figures for the period 2013 to 2015 are published by the Scottish Government based on their Scottish House Condition Survey.
The breakdown of these figures now published show that some local authorities are making more progress than others.
For example, Stirling had the biggest drop (5 per cent) in levels of fuel poverty from 34 per cent to 29 per cent.
However, Argyll and Bute reported the biggest rise (8 per cent) in fuel poverty from 40 per cent to 48 per cent.
Of the 32 local authorities across Scotland, six of them were found to have increased levels of fuel poverty.
Overall in Scotland for the same period 2013 to 2015, the average level of fuel poverty was down by 1 per cent to 34 per cent.
Fuel poverty is widely recognised as being caused by poor energy efficiency of homes, low incomes and high energy prices. The results are people having to ration the time they have their heating and hot water on and also in making the hard choices between essentials such as buying food or paying for fuel bills.
Norman Kerr, Director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland said: “The figures now published show a patchwork of progress across the country. The majority of local authorities are moving levels of fuel poverty in the right direction. However, others have more work to do to overcome difficult conditions such as helping rural properties that are off the gas grid.
“Without the work being done by local authorities to tackle fuel poverty, the level of the problem would undoubtedly be much worse. The new figures highlight that progress can be made but that more resources are needed, particularly where local conditions are tougher to deal with.
“When the Scottish Government reviews its fuel poverty strategy later this year, it is essential that the important role that local authorities play in tackling fuel poverty has a central place in it and that they are well-resourced for the task.
“The local elections in May are also an opportunity for local representatives to pledge their commitment to ending the scourge of fuel poverty.”