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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Hundreds of thousands of Scots households set to be dragged into fuel poverty, charity warns

 

Energy Action Scotland said some areas could see a majority of households being "fuel poor" from April.

April’s energy price rises will see more than 40 per cent of households in large parts of Scotland move into fuel poverty, new research shows. 

Revised figures announced by the Scottish Government show that a further 211,000 households are likely to be living in fuel poverty in the coming months - an increase of 43 per cent on 2019 figures.

Modelling done by fuel poverty campaigners Energy Action Scotland (EAS) shows 57 per cent of people living in the Western Isles will soon be spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy - after housing costs have been deducted – the official definition of being fuel poor.

A further 11 local authority areas will see more than two in every five homes moving into official fuel poverty. 

EAS chief executive, Frazer Scott, said: “These price increases will move significant proportions of our communities into official fuel poor status. On average 38 per cent of households across the country will no longer be able to afford to heat their home adequately. 

https://twitter.com/EAS_Scotland/status/1500869967427870730?s=20&t=DB8maubPCB2jL7qrdJjxKg

“Although moves by governments in Scotland and Westminster to alleviate these price rises are welcome, they go nowhere near far enough.”

Energy Action Scotland is urging the UK government to tax the excessive profits being made by oil and gas giants and to cut VAT on energy bills, redistribute the VAT windfall already received to help those with the lowest incomes and consider radical reforms to ensure that vulnerable fuel poor households are protected.

The UK Government will tax average dual fuel households an extra £44 through higher VAT receipts - heaping taxes upon those that can least afford to pay them. 

Industry analysts have warned that continued volatility in wholesale energy markets could push average household energy bills up by more than £700 to £2,000 a year from April. 

EAS have warned continued inaction from the government will cost lives - with over 2,000 more people dying in winter when cold damp homes reduce health and wellbeing more than they do in summer.

According to the World Health Organisation around one in three of these deaths are directly attributable to living in fuel poverty and could be set to rise as fuel poverty increases. 

Mr Scott added: “We estimated that 100,000 more households would seriously struggle to heat their homes after these price rises, unfortunately it would seem this was a vast underestimate of the extent of the problem. 

“We urgently need government action to improve the energy efficiency of homes, particularly targeted at households that suffer the greatest rates of fuel poverty. This would ensure help is being given to those that need it the most.”

UK government spokesman said: “A windfall tax could deter £14 billion worth of opportunities awaiting investment, which would risk both security of our energy supply, as well as almost 200,000 jobs that rely on the industry.

“Oil and gas companies in the North Sea are already subject to a tax rate on their profits that is more than double those paid by other businesses. To date, the sector has contributed more than £375 billion in production taxes.”

“We’re providing around £21 billion this financial year to help families with the cost of living, including a rise in the National Living Wage meaning that people working full time will see a £1,000 increase in annual earnings.”

 

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