Memorandum submitted by Baxi
Group (FP 59)
Poverty in Scotland
1. Of the three main causes of fuel poverty,
energy efficiency is devolved to the Scottish Parliament but energy regulation
(including prices) and income/benefits are matters reserved to the UK
2. The latest Scottish House Condition Survey
(SHCS) Key Findings 2008 report confirms expectations that levels of fuel
poverty have again risen. In 2008 618,000 (27%) households in Scotland were estimated to be in fuel
poverty. This represents an increase on the previous year of 5.5% and an
increase of 116% on the 2002 figures, when energy prices were last at a low
households - 1 in 3 - in Scotland
are estimated by Energy Action Scotland
to be fuel poor currently. This estimate
is based on the figures above and the SHCS equation that for every 1% increase
in energy prices (all else being equal) then 8,000 more Scottish households
become fuel poor.
3. The Scottish
Government is required to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland,
as far as is practicable, by 2016 by the Housing (Scotland) Act 200. How this will be achieved is laid out in the
Scottish Fuel Poverty Statement. The
Statement is due to be reviewed in 2010.
4. Together with other stakeholders, Energy Action Scotland is a member of the Scottish
Fuel Poverty Forum. The Forum was
reconvened by Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to
advise the Scottish Government on how it could improve progress towards the
target to eradicate fuel poverty.
to Treat Homes
Hard - or expensive - to
treat homes are those that cannot have their energy efficiency improved by cost
effective measures such as cavity wall or loft insulation and/or which do not
have access to an inexpensive fuel or a favourable energy tariff.
Many of the current grant schemes aimed at improving the energy
efficiency of homes focus on providing cavity wall and loft insulation. However, around 25% of all homes in Scotland
do not have a loft, due to the large number of flatted and tenemental
properties that are prevalent in many of our cities and towns. Around a third of homes in Scotland do not
have masonry cavity walls and so cannot take cavity wall insulation. In
has 10% of dwellings classified as 'non-traditional', split between concrete,
timber and metal-framed housing. All
these types of property are 'hard to treat' in energy efficiency terms.
about 33% of homes are off the mains gas grid and are likely to remain so and
therefore have no gas. Many fuel poor
properties are in rural and remote areas where the cost of providing a gas
supply would be uneconomic. These areas
are then forced to use a restricted range of more expensive fuels to heat and
provide power to their homes - such as solid fuel, domestic oil, liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) or all-electric.
Moreover, unlike gas and electricity, these fuels are unregulated.
Energy Action Scotland believes that
in rural areas it will be necessary to use market transformation initiatives to
make new technologies such as solar water heating, biomass and heat pumps more
affordable as current grant schemes are still not sufficient to stimulate
demand for these technologies. These technologies will offer choice and
possibly cheaper heating and electricity to off-grid homes.
The Scottish House
Condition Survey shows that 65% more fuel is used to heat a semi-detached house
with gas central heating in Braemar than in Bristol. Energy Action
Scotland therefore believes the Winter Fuel Payment should be
weighted regionally to reflect this higher cost in Scotland.