Responding to the Scottish House Condition Survey 2019
The Scottish Government remains committed to ending fuel poverty entirely and implementing our ambitious Fuel Poverty Act.
Fuel poverty figures in the 2019 report are likely to have been influenced by an increase in fuel prices between 2018 and 2019, particularly for electricity. Indeed, these statistics have highlighted that cost of electricity per unit remains a significant issue in terms of tackling fuel poverty as a driver of 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.
We know the COVID-19 pandemic will have exacerbated concerns over affording bills for many. Our £350 million package of Communities Funding, brought in during the pandemic, includes support for people struggling with energy costs, a significant increase to the Scottish Welfare Fund, which can help people on low incomes with essential costs such as heating, and increased housing support.
Yesterday, the First Minister announced a further £100 million Winter Support Package in which we will make available up to £7 million in new funding to supporting fuel poor households. We also recently announced a further £16 million to improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes to make them warmer and cheaper to heat, taking our total grant funding this year to support fuel poor households to £97 million.
I am pleased to see a reduction in the level of disrepair to critical elements over the last year and, in terms of severity, that less than a fifth of all dwellings are in need of any urgent repair to critical elements. However we want to go further still which is why the Scottish Government has taken action to raise standards in the private rented sector, introduced new powers to help local authorities support common works, and has committed to act on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance.
Anyone concerned with their energy bills can contact the Scottish Government-funded Home Energy Scotland service for advice on 0808 808 2282.