The Scottish government has pledged to set a legally binding target to eradicate fuel poverty.
Kevin Stewart, minister for local government and housing outlined the new statutory goal to eliminate fuel poverty in a consultation paper, launched today, which also outlines a series of interim steps for tackling the problem.
The statutory target, which will be enshrined in a Warm Homes Bill, follows an admission by the Holyrood administration that it would not meet an earlier target to wipe out fuel poverty by this year.
Almost a third (30.7%) of homes in Scotland were in fuel poverty in 2015, according to the consultation paper.
The interim steps include a pledge that the overall fuel poverty rate will be less than 10% by 2040 with the median household fuel poverty gap no more than £250 by this date, based on 2015 prices before adding inflation. It also says that all homes should reach a ‘minimum’ energy performance rating by 2040.
By 2030, the paper says that the overall fuel poverty rate will be less than 20% with the median household gap no greater than £450. It states that by this date, there should be ‘progress towards’ ensuring all homes reach a minimum energy performance rating.
The paper also outlines plans for the government to monitor the depth of fuel poverty experienced by households with updates in the annual Scottish House Condition Survey report.
In the consultation paper, the Scottish government says that progress on eliminating fuel poverty has been slower than expected due to rising fuel bills.
While the proportion of A to D rated dwellings and household incomes have both increased by just over a third since the target was set in 2003, fuel prices had risen by 170% over the same period.
The Scottish government has also revised the fuel poverty target, which will now be set at 10% of household income excluding housing costs, following the recommendations of an independent committee.