In 2014 the level of fuel poverty remained similar to the previous year: 34.9% or around 845,000 households were fuel poor and 9.5% were living in extreme fuel poverty. This compares to revised estimates of 35.8% or 860,000 fuel poor households in 2013, with 9.8% living in extreme fuel poverty.
In 2014, average fuel prices increased by 3.5%. The impact of this increase on fuel poverty was mitigated by a 2.7% nominal increase in average net household income, improvements in the overall energy efficiency of the housing stock and policy schemes delivering fuel bill rebates.
Statistics on fuel poverty, energy efficiency, the condition of housing, the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) and other key descriptors of the occupied housing stock in Scotland have been published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.
This publication provides the first release of information from the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) for the year January to December 2014. It includes a Methodology Report which gives details of the methodological improvement in determining the cost of the fuel requirement which underpins the fuel poverty statistics.
The results from the survey show that the long term trend of improving energy efficiency of the housing stock continues
Fuel poverty is defined as needing to pay more than 10% t of income on domestic fuel. Needing to pay more than 20% of income on domestic fuel is termed as extreme fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty has three main causes: high price of domestic fuel, poor energy efficiency of the home and low disposable household income.
Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland, said: “It is clear that taking action to tackle all three main causes of fuel poverty can have a positive impact and that means making homes more energy efficient, reducing energy costs and improving income levels.
“There is still a significant fuel poverty problem in Scotland that needs more funding to solve it than is currently available.
“Today’s Scottish Government Budget is an opportunity to do more about reducing levels of fuel poverty in Scotland. Without it, the desperate situation of hundreds of thousands of households living in cold, damp homes will continue.”
Energy Action Scotland has already urged the Scottish Government to open discussions now on resetting the target to end fuel poverty, as it is clear the current target of November 2016 can no longer be met. The charity wants the Scottish Government to produce a fuel poverty strategy and action plan with costs and timelines.