The Task Force concluded by calling for a “Rural proofed plan for effective delivery”. This includes specific rural fuel poverty targets and expected programme outcomes.
Delivering the recommended action plan requires that top strategic priority should be given to:
- Eradicating rural fuel poverty within a defined timescales, with clear targets and milestones.
- ensuring that all vulnerable households, no matter where they live, receive the type and level of personalised outreach support they need to resolve their fuel poverty problems properly, with an Energy Carer pilot to test and extend the effectiveness of home-delivered, area-based service provision dedicated to ensuring high quality, affordable warmth outcomes;
- the commitment that remediation programmes prioritise off-gas areas;
- setting up a non-transactional price comparison website where all prices can be compared on all tariffs charged by suppliers of all domestic fuels in all distinct market areas of Scotland;
- encouraging and supporting customers to switch tariff and supplier to achieve big reductions in their electricity bills;
- making certain the indicators and assumptions used to inform policies and programmes are fit for rural purpose and that they are developed and improved on the basis of thorough measurement and assessment of the before-and-after outcomes of the interventions made, especially to the well-being of those helped;
- ensuring that the share of public investment allocated to tackling rural and remote Scotland’s fuel poverty and affordable warmth issues demonstrably matches their identified needs and wider social and economic benefits generated; and
- finally, appointing an independent Affordable Rural Warmth Implementation Group to support the Scottish Government’s National Outcome of “tackling the significant inequalities in Scottish Society” by monitoring the progress made in tackling all aspects of the rural fuel poverty problem and providing regular reports to Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.