Views wanted on new legislation to cut fuel poverty

MSPs want to hear from the public on planned legislation to set a new legal target to reduce fuel poverty.

The Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill sets a target to have no more than 5% of households living in fuel poverty by 2040.

A previous target set by the Scottish Executive in 2002 to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016 was missed.

Heating thermostat
Heating thermostat

Fuel poverty is currently defined as having to spend more than 10% of household income on fuel, and under this definition the most recent figures show this affects more than a quarter (26.5%) of homes in Scotland.

The planned legislation sets out a new definition which calculates the proportion of household income needed for acceptable heating and assesses the extent to which households can then maintain an “acceptable standard of living” once housing and fuel costs are deducted.

Applying the new definition to 2016 data, the rate currently stands at 24%.

Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee is seeking views from the public on the planned legislation, including if people agree with the new target and the revised definition and if lessons have been learned from previous initiatives.

Committee convener James Dornan said: “Having a warm home is a basic right and no-one should have to choose between heating and eating. The intention behind this Bill is therefore welcome.

“However, it is the role of the committee to look at these proposals in detail to determine if the target is achievable and if the measures set out will make a real difference.

“We want to hear from a wide range of organisations, stakeholders and people from across Scotland to generate discussion on the key proposals set out in the Bill and most importantly how we tackle fuel poverty.”

The calls for views closes on November 9.