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New report urges action to end rural fuel poverty in Scotland

The Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force has today published its final report, making recommendations to Government and other bodies for actions to address fuel poverty in rural Scotland.

Rural areas tend to have higher than average living costs, and energy consumers often face considerably higher energy bills. As a result, around 50% of those living in rural Scotland are considered to be in fuel poverty.

The report published today makes recommendations on a range of issues, including the development of personalised outreach support to address fuel poverty problems, greater support for off-gas areas, encouraging and supporting consumers to switch tariff and supplier, and more comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of the impact of fuel poverty schemes in rural Scotland.

Craig Salter, energy spokesman for the Consumer Futures Unit at CAS is a member of the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force. He says today:

“Far too many households throughout Scotland cannot afford to heat their homes – but the problem is even more acute for those living in rural areas. At present, around 50% of households in rural Scotland are in fuel poverty, compared with around 35% in the rest of Scotland. It is clear that more needs to be done to address the issues facing rural areas.  

"The report of the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Taskforce is a significant step forward in tackling fuel poverty in rural Scotland. It sets out practical steps for achieving affordable warmth for all consumers, particularly in relation to those who live off the gas grid and in remote areas, and can be at greater risk of falling into fuel poverty.

"The Consumer Futures Unit at CAS is taking forward a range of initiatives to address key issues raised by the group, including projects to develop fuel poverty and energy efficiency advice and support services available in rural areas, and evaluating the impact of energy efficiency measures in rural Scotland.  

"This report is encouraging, and we look forward to the Scottish Government’s response. We hope that Government, energy suppliers, organisations and communities can work together to take forward the task force recommendations, and work towards ending fuel poverty in rural Scotland.”

The Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force was set up in August 2015, with a remit to put forward practical proposals that will help people living in rural and remote Scotland to keep their homes warm. The CFU is a member of the group.