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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-33993
Asked by: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 10 December 2020

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the comment in the recently-published Scottish House Condition Survey that (a) before taking account the impact of COVID-19, one in four households live in fuel poverty, (b) progress in tackling fuel poverty is too slow and (c) there has been an increase in fuel poverty in remote rural areas.

Current status: Answered by Kevin Stewart on 23 December 2020


Answer

The Scottish Government remains committed to ending fuel poverty entirely and fully implementing our ambitious Fuel Poverty Act.

The Scottish House Condition Survey results show that fuel poverty rates have remained similar overall, but increases to energy prices - specifically electricity and sold mineral fuel - have resulted in an increase in fuel poverty in remote rural areas. Indeed, these statistics have highlighted that the cost of electricity per unit, as a driver of fuel poverty, remains a significant issue in terms of tackling fuel poverty. We are determined to address fuel poverty in Scotland but we also need to see action by the UK Government on energy prices as energy markets remain reserved.

Whilst COVID-19 did cause us to pause the development of our Fuel Poverty Strategy this work will resume as soon as possible to meet our commitment to publish in 2021.

In the meantime, our efforts are focused on the immediate support needs of those in fuel poverty through both the £350 million Supporting Communities funding package and the availability of up to £7 million in new funding to support households who are struggling with their fuel bills; part of the £100 million Winter Support fund package announced by the First Minister on 30 November.