New information published today shows that Scotland is in a ‘shameful crisis’ of fuel poverty, according to Citizens Advice Scotland.
The Fuel Poverty Monitor has been published by energy experts from all four nations of the UK. In response, CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee says,
“We know from government figures that one third of Scottish households are in fuel poverty. That’s an astonishing figure which really underlines the extent of the financial crisis that many Scottish families are facing.
“Today’s report shows some of the reasons why this is the case, and why Scotland is more vulnerable to fuel poverty than other parts of the UK. For example it identifies rural areas as being twice as likely to experience fuel poverty as urban areas, and also shows how the crisis is made worse in Scotland by the high numbers of Scottish households which are off the gas grid.
“As we head into another Scottish winter and fuel bills keep rising, one third of our population – including many of the most vulnerable people - are once again facing the prospect of having to suffer the cold, or go without food or other essentials in order to pay their bills. Today’s report for example shows that 65% of pensioner households are fuel poor.
“This is a shameful situation, and governments in both Westminster and Holyrood need to work together to address it. There are a number of good initiatives already, but the extent of this crisis requires a massive integrated effort. This is 2011 and one third of our people cannot afford to heat their homes - we cannot let that situation continue.
“In the meantime, people who are in financial difficulty today can get help from their local CAB. Our advisers can give them expert advice on how to manage their finances for example, or can negotiate with the fuel companies on their behalf. CAB advice is always free, impartial and confidential.”
For more information, interviews etc please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655. NB This is the number of the CAS Press Office, for use by journalists only. If you are a member of the public looking for CAB advice please contact your local bureau.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
The Fuel Poverty Monitor, published today, is an ‘Annual Report’ on the problem of fuel poverty across the UK. It is written by experts from the UK's leading fuel poverty charities, including Energy Action Scotland.
Findings in the report which relate to Scotland include these points (all of which are mentioned in our text above):
- Rurality: Statistics on the demographics of fuel poverty in the Scottish House Conditions Survey (SHCS) go some way to explaining the high incidence of fuel poverty in Scotland. Rurality has a substantial impact on the likelihood of fuel poverty with 45% of rural households being fuel poor in 2009, and 20% in extreme fuel poverty.This compares with 30% and 8% of urban households respectively, making rural households more than twice as likely to be in extreme fuel poverty as urban households.
- Off-grid supply: In addition to the rural aspect of Scotland’s housing, an important proportion of Scotland’s homes are off the gas grid (33%). SHCS figures again show the effect of this on fuel poverty with 49% of off-gas grid households in Scotland being in fuel poverty, compared with 31% of households with access to mains gas.
- Demographics: With regard to household type the SHCS showed some households are more vulnerable than others. 65% of single pensioner households (247,000) and around half of older smaller households (191,000) were fuel poor in 2009, making them more likely than any other household types to experience fuel poverty.