Consumer Focus Scotland responds to ‘shocking’ new fuel poverty figures

| November 25, 2010 | 0 Comments

Consumer Focus Scotland is calling on both the Scottish and UK governments to take radical action now to deal with the huge increase in fuel poverty following official figures, released today, which show that over three-quarters of a million households in Scotland are unable to keep their homes warm.

The consumer watchdog says the shocking figures demand concentrated action by government at all levels and the energy industry to tackle the growing scale of this problem.

Responding to the new figures, Trisha McAuley, Deputy Director and energy policy lead at Consumer Focus Scotland, said: “Over three-quarters of a million households are now living in fuel poverty, with the number considered to be in extreme fuel poverty growing most rapidly. These shocking figures confirm our worst fears about the scale of the problem in Scotland, and show the impact of continuing rises of household energy costs.

“Most worryingly the increase comes despite some welcome and positive progress on improving the energy efficiency of many of Scotland’s homes. But the figures show that this is not the case for the homes that are the most hard to heat. Consumers living in older houses or without access to mains gas are much more likely to face real difficulty keeping warm. These houses are much more common in rural Scotland, where the weather means there is also a greater need for heating.

“Urgent action is required at all levels of government to meet the massive scale of the challenge Scotland faces on this issue. While the Scottish Government has made significant progress in general with its energy efficiency programmes it now needs to make a step change in its efforts and its investment, targeted towards the hardest to heat houses and consumers off the gas grid.

“The UK Government’s Green Deal has real potential for ensuring that investment in energy efficiency is targeted to those who need it most. But consumers in Scotland need to know how both governments will work together to ensure that the Green Deal benefits them and protects the most vulnerable against the effects of rising energy prices. With consumers facing another long, hard and costly winter, extra help can’t come too soon.”


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