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Labour launch fuel poverty campaign in Scotland

Friday 07 December 2018

Scottish Labour are demanding real change for the many and not just the few, by launching a Christmas campaign highlighting the issue of fuel poverty.

In 2017, 613,000 households in Scotland were estimated to be fuel poor, and this season, fuel poverty is expected to affect one in four households in the country.

Over the holidays, the campaign will see party members and activists distributing postcards, to raise awareness of the extent of households in Scotland that spend a high proportion of their household income on keeping their home at a reasonable temperature.

The leaflets will also be seeking public views on ownership of energy and potential government support for home insulation.

The Government currently provides support in the form of an interest free loan of up to £38,500 for both small landlords and homeowners, but the party is calling for targets in the forthcoming Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill to be tightened. These targets would include: 

  • a commitment to eradicate fuel poverty by 2040 as opposed to the proposal in the legislation to cut fuel poverty to five per cent of Scottish households by that year;
  • a definition of fuel poverty that includes an uplift for rural communities to be included in the upcoming Bill; and 
  • a minimum standard of energy efficiency in private rented sector housing. 

Scottish Labour’s equalities spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said: “Scotland is an energy-rich country, yet over a quarter of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty. In 2002, the last Labour-led Scottish government set a target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, but years of inaction from the Scottish National Party (SNP) means that target was missed.

“In the run-up to Christmas, Labour will be highlighting our plans to ensure everyone has access to a warm home with affordable energy bills. The next Labour governments at Holyrood and Westminster will take action to end the scandal of fuel poverty.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP commented: “It is absolutely unacceptable for people to be forced to choose between having the heating on or cooking their dinner. We want a Scotland where everyone lives in a warm home with access to affordable, low carbon energy, and we put an end to fuel poverty.

“By 2021 we will have allocated over £1 billion to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency – making people’s homes warmer and cheaper to heat. Our Fuel Poverty Bill, Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy, and Energy Efficient Scotland programme set out how we will work across government and with partners to tackle the different aspects of fuel poverty and ensure we are prioritising support to those who need it most to bring about the transformation we need to see.”