Rural and Environment
Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel: Statement
Commenting on the First Minister’s commitment to further action in response to the cost crisis, Chair of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel Matthew Cole said:
“I welcome the Scottish Government’s recognition of the gravity of the cost of living crisis. If not addressed, this crisis, exacerbated by spiralling energy prices, will lead to undue hardship and suffering this winter. These unprecedented price rises, caused by the war in Ukraine and the fall-out from Covid, mean that Scottish households are facing a huge hike, in already exceptionally high energy prices, when Ofgem announces changes to the price cap from October.
“The Scottish Government estimates that at least 900,000 households in Scotland will be living in fuel poverty, with over 700,000 of these – almost 30% of all households – living in extreme poverty, by October. We forecast that the number of households in fuel poverty will only expand and increase as analysts suggest that prices will rise again in January.
“Action is needed now to avoid the effects of the current crisis worsening over the winter months and impacting both the quality of life and, in some cases, life itself as families ration the energy they use.
“The Panel recognises that fuel poverty in Scotland cannot be addressed by the Scottish Government alone. It urges the Scottish Government to continue making the case for the UK Government to improve immediate, targeted, mitigation of the impact of high bills by increasing financial support, and creating sustainable measures for the prevention and alleviation of fuel poverty in the future.
“The Panel commends the ambition of the Scottish Government for its strategy to tackle fuel poverty but recognises that significant changes have occurred in the eight months since it was published. The Panel encourages the Scottish Government to take all possible action to ensure that Scotland’s fuel poverty targets, set out in the strategy, can be delivered.
“The Panel is actively engaging with advice agencies, Ofgem and the energy sector to understand what will best help people experiencing fuel poverty now and in the future. It is keen to work with those with lived experience of fuel poverty, suppliers, the regulator, and governments, to mitigate immediate fuel poverty effects, and, to identify the levers which will enable resilience in the face of energy supply and the climate change challenges in both the present and the future.”
Further information about the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel and the Scottish Government’s fuel poverty strategy are available on the Scottish Government website. The Fuel Poverty (Scotland) Act 2019 provides further information about Scotland’s fuel poverty targets and our definition of fuel poverty.
The Scottish Government estimates are based on Ofgem’s May forecast for the October 2022 price cap of £2,800. The energy sector is now anticipating that the price cap will be much higher than £2,800. A higher price cap will mean higher numbers of those in fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty.