- Part of:
Final report to be published later this year.
The Independent Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group updated the Housing Minister on their interim findings yesterday evening.
This short life working group was requested by the former Social Justice Secretary Alex Neill last year. It is independently chaired by Professor David Sigsworth OBE and made up of representatives from a range of organisations with an interest in energy efficiency and fuel poverty.
The Chair of the expert group informed the Minister that the fuel poverty target will not be met this year. He also outlined that the group's formal report, which will be published later this year, is likely to include recommendations on reviewing the definition of fuel poverty, a renewed strategy and targets for eradicating fuel poverty, and a balanced focus on the causes of fuel poverty.
Responding to the findings the Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart, updated parliament, confirming the Government's commitment to eradicating fuel poverty and outlining the progress made so far.
Mr Stewart said:
"I would like to thank everyone involved in helping the Scottish Government's efforts to eradicate fuel poverty in our country. We know that increasing energy efficiency is the most sustainable way to reducing people's fuel bills and we remain committed to this.
"This Government has allocated over half a billion pounds since 2009 and this year we are making available more than £103 million to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. This money will be used to help install energy efficiency measures to thousands of homes across Scotland, and build on more than 1 million measures already delivered to almost 1 million Scottish households since 2008.
"Our record investment is reflected in the big improvements in the energy efficiency of Scotland's housing. Two out of five homes are now in the top three ratings for energy efficiency, an increase of 71% since 2010 and 11% in the last year alone.
"While we have welcomed this success, above-inflation energy price increases that are beyond our control have greatly impacted on Scottish households. Based on the expert advice we have now received, we must accept that fuel poverty will not be eradicated this year.
"We remain committed to continuing our efforts in this area and continue to work with stakeholders to review the fuel poverty action plan, including the fuel poverty eradication target.
"I look forward to receiving the final report later this year."