Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson and Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today called on Scottish Ministers to improve energy efficiency measures and set a more ambitious target for the eradication of fuel poverty, following the latest round official statistics.
Official figures revealed that between 2015 and 2016, 99,000 households were removed from fuel poverty, a return to levels in 2007. However, rural fuel poverty rates have remained at 37% while the rate in the social sector remained at 32%.
The Scottish House Condition Survey also revealed that of all the homes removed from fuel poverty only “around a third (1.5 points) can be attributed to improvements in the energy efficiency performance”.
Commenting on the figures, Mr McArthur said:
“When it comes to tackling fuel poverty, these figures offer some encouragement with a reduction in homes classed as fuel poor. That progress is welcome and must be maintained.
“However, underlying these headline figures are more troubling findings. Fuel poverty levels among rural and social housing, for example, offer a different story with little or no progress made over the last year. It is therefore clear we have a lot to do, not least in delivering a range of tailored solutions.
“Liberal Democrats believe a robust and ambitious Warm Homes Bill can help deliver those solutions, but only if it is ambitious in its aims and extensive in its reach. We need to firm action to bring down and eventually eradicate fuel poverty but also details of the energy efficiency measures needed to deliver those targets.
“Ministers must also accept that there is a specific rural dimension to fuel poverty, as these latest figures illustrate. A one-size-fits-all approach to tackling this scourge simply won’t be good enough.”