Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is calling for action as new figures show over 600,000 homes in Scotland are in fuel poverty.
Scottish Government figures released today show almost 1 in 4, some 613,000 households in Scotland, were in fuel poverty in 2019.
Further to this 311,000 households are in ‘extreme fuel poverty’, defined as paying more than 20 per cent of their income heating their homes. This is an increase of around 32,000 homes compared to 2018.
CAS warned that the figures could be worse next year, as Covid squeezes incomes while keeping more people at home.
CAS Fair Markets spokesperson Kate Morrison said:
“Scotland’s level of fuel poverty is horrifying with over 600,000 households feeling the squeeze. It’s also exceptionally worrying to see instances of extreme fuel poverty on the rise.
“A small decline in overall figures is to be welcomed and suggests that some measures may be supporting families out of fuel poverty, however it cannot be acceptable for a country like Scotland to see 1 in 4 homes living in fuel poverty, and growing numbers of people having to hand over a fifth of their incomes to keep their homes warm.
“The real concern here is these grim figures are pre-Covid. We know the pandemic has squeezed incomes for many people, and it’s led to the unavoidable consequence of people spending more time at home.
“This requires real action from policy makers and industry. Greater access to schemes like the Warm Home Discount would help, as would increasing investment in energy efficiency measures, which would have the twin benefit of cutting both emissions and energy bills for people.
“If people are struggling with energy bills, the Citizens Advice network can help, either through local CABs, online advice or by checking our Money Map tool at www.moneymap.scot .”