Urgent action needed to tackle fuel poverty say Greens

The Greens will pressure the Scottish Government to include measures to eradicating fuel poverty in its forthcoming budget after statistics published today revealed the scale of the problem.

The party’s housing spokesperson Andy Wightman said that while the figures show an improvement in households living in fuel poverty compared to 2014, Scotland is still blighted by it, with 30% of Scots still having to spend more than 10% of their income on household fuel use.

Lothian MSP, Andy Wightman said:

“Fuel poverty is a national disgrace with more than 750,000 households suffering. The Scottish Government has in the past not met targets to end fuel poverty and there is broad agreement across the parties that action is needed. When the draft Scottish budget is presented this month, it’s essential we see a firm commitment to increase funding.

“In 2016, 30% of households still classed as in fuel poverty in Scotland, with almost half also below the poverty threshold. There needs to be a change of mind set at government level with fuel poverty. The SNP must make it a priority to help improve people’s living standards and to boost work for small traders.

“Those living in a fuel poor home face higher risks of poor health and lower educational attainment, as well as the added stress of having to make difficult choices between heating and putting food on the table or buying a new school uniform.

“Addressing fuel poverty is at least as much about treating households as it is treating homes. As well as repairing and improving the energy efficiency of homes occupied by those in fuel poverty we need to do much more to address the social and economic problems that both cause the problem and are exacerbated by it.”