Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the news that two fifths of Scottish households are in fuel poverty.
Whereas previous indications were that Scotland’s fuel poverty rate was falling, the Scottish Government’s latest statistics, issued today, show that it is in fact rising to its highest ever levels, and is now nearly 40%.
Citizens Advice Scotland spokesperson Sarah Beattie-Smith says,
"Fuel poverty is a scourge on Scotland. CAB advisers see this every day, and these latest figures show that the reality for nearly a million Scottish households this winter is a choice between heating and eating.
“It is shameful that such an essential service is unaffordable and we call on both the Scottish and UK governments to urgently address the underlying causes of this crisis, from poor energy efficiency and an un-competitive market to falling household incomes.
"Tackling fuel poverty requires mass investment in energy efficiency far beyond the current schemes. Consumers also deserve a competitive and transparent energy market - something we hope the CMA's market investigation will deliver.
“Finally, it's crucial that the UK government address falling household incomes. In the week when we've heard that a million people are reliant on food banks, it's clear that benefits levels and wages are simply not enough to sustain huge numbers of families in our society. Action is needed now to stop many thousands more people slipping into poverty."