Scottish Labour has launched a Christmas campaign on fuel poverty to highlight that the issue will affect one in four homes in Scotland over the holidays.
Campaigners will distribute postcards over the festive season pointing out the extent of households in Scotland classed as being in fuel poverty, by spending more than 10% of their income on household fuel.
The postcards seek public views on Labour’s policy of taking energy into public ownership and question if there should be government support for home insulation.
The party also wants to cap energy prices to keep bills affordable and for tougher targets to be included in the forthcoming Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill.
These targets would include a commitment to eradicate fuel poverty by 2040 as opposed to the proposal in the legislation to cut fuel poverty to 5% of Scottish households by that year.
Labour also wants the Bill to have a definition of fuel poverty which includes an uplift for rural communities and to stipulate a minimum standard of energy efficiency in private rented sector housing.
Scottish Labour’s equalities spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said: “Scotland is an energy-rich country, yet over a quarter of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty.
“In 2002, the last Labour-led Scottish government set a target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, but years of inaction from the SNP means that target was missed.
“In the run-up to Christmas, Labour will be highlighting our plans to ensure everyone has access to a warm home with affordable energy bills.
“The next Labour governments at Holyrood and Westminster will take action to end the scandal of fuel poverty.”
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for people to be forced to choose between having the heating on or cooking their dinner.
“We want a Scotland where everyone lives in a warm home with access to affordable, low carbon energy, and we put an end to fuel poverty.
“By 2021 we will have allocated over £1 billion to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency – making people’s homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
“Our Fuel Poverty Bill, Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy, and Energy Efficient Scotland programme set out how we will work across government and with partners to tackle the different aspects of fuel poverty and ensure we are prioritising support to those who need it most to bring about the transformation we need to see.”