SFHA Calls for Help to End Fuel Poverty
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Environment, Health, Local Government
Responding to the Scottish House Condition Survey published today (Thursday 13th December) the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has said that while it is disappointed that there has been a rise in the number of households in Scotland which are living in fuel poverty, it is calling for further action to be taken by the Scottish and UK Governments in order to reverse these statistics.
The survey shows that in autumn 2011, estimated fuel poverty rates increased to 28.9% affecting around 684,000 households, which is 1 percentage point higher than 2010 levels (27.9%). Fuel price rises in October 2011 had the smallest effect on housing association and private-rented households, compared with 2010 levels. Both saw a three percentage point decrease in fuel poverty from 2010 to 26% for housing associations and 24% for private rented. (1)
SFHA Policy Manager David Stewart said:
“These figures confirm that fuel poverty is an issue of great concern in Scotland, with so many families struggling to heat their homes. While the statistics show that housing association and co-operative housing stock is amongst the most energy efficient housing in Scotland, many of our members’ tenants are on low incomes and therefore are vulnerable to fuel poverty, even when their homes are well insulated and energy efficient.
“It is therefore vital that housing associations and co-operatives continue to lead on energy efficiency and receive support from both the Scottish and UK Governments to invest in their existing homes in order to cut fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. The Scottish Government is developing proposals to set minimum energy efficiency standards for our members’ homes, and while we welcome any proposals to increase standards, we are concerned that there may not be sufficient funding to pay for the improvements.”
Mr Stewart continued:
“The SFHA is also calling on the UK Government to ensure that housing associations and co-operatives have equal access to UK schemes to improve energy efficiency, including the Energy Company Obligation and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
“The other key issue is that of giving tenants advice on reducing fuel use and how to access the best available energy tariffs and we have asked Ofgem to require energy companies to fund free impartial advice to vulnerable customers in Scotland.”
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- Scottish House Conditions Survey: Key Findings 2011 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/4995/downloads
- The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
- The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
- Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.