Leading charities want tougher fuel poverty targets after the Scottish Government drastically failed in its commitment to eliminate the problem by 2016.
Because, “under the current system, even the Queen would be fuel poor in Scotland.”
That is one of the findings of Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Keith Baker, whose research has today led the Scottish Government to review its definition of fuel poverty.
Work carried out by the university’s Dr Baker and Ron Mould found that more needs to be done to understand and address the needs of the most vulnerable householders, whether they are in fuel poverty or at risk of falling into it.
Dr Baker explained: “The current definition is too limited, and the use of blunt thresholds, such as income, is too inflexible – households not classified as being fuel poor may still exhibit characteristics of suffering from the impacts of fuel poverty because they are also vulnerable in other ways, such as due to physical and mental health, or their ability to manage their energy bills.
“Conversely, the limitations of the current definition mean that a small number of householders who are not otherwise classified as poor are counted as being fuel poor because of the size of the properties they need to heat – technically, the Queen would be fuel poor in Scotland.”
The Scottish Government has now acknowledged the research of Dr Baker, and other academics.
As a result, it will review its definition of fuel poverty. If agreed, the new definition will set a new measurement and reduction target going forward to 2040. The proposed revised targets are:
- Overall fuel poverty rate to be less than 10% by 2040;
- Median household fuel poverty gap to be no more than £250 (in 2015 prices before adding inflation) by 2040
- Remove energy efficiency as a driver for fuel poverty by ensuring all homes reach a minimum energy performance rating by 2040.
The 2017 Scottish Fuel Poverty Definition Review Panel paper is available here.
10 Nov 2017