Scottish Federation of Housing Associations Calls for Increased Support to End Fuel Poverty
Published by SFHA for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Communities, Environment, Health
Commenting in advance of tomorrow’s (Wednesday 23rd January) Scottish Government debate, Tackling Fuel Poverty, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has called for increased funding for social landlords and minimum energy efficiency standards to be set for the private housing sector, in order to cut fuel poverty and meet carbon emission targets.
The SFHA believes that in order to address fuel poverty and to meet the Scottish Government’s targets to reduce carbon emissions set in the Climate Change Scotland Act (2009), there needs to be a significant increase in the National Retrofit Programme (NRP) in future years. A recent report by WWF Scotland estimated that there is a significant funding gap between the investment required to meet the targets and the funding available through the NRP, the Energy Company Obligation and other available funds. (1)
The Federation recognises that minimum standards can play a significant role in driving improved energy efficiency standards in existing housing. However, the SFHA believes that in order for social landlords to meet these challenging standards, funding has to be made available though an expanded NRP and through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
SFHA Policy Manager David Stewart said:
“While housing associations and co-operatives now have the most energy efficient homes by tenure in Scotland (2), 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 continue to lead on energy efficiency and receive support from the Scottish Government to invest in their existing homes.
“The Scottish Government is developing proposals to set further 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. The Federation is calling on the Scottish Government to continue to fund and expand the NRP and to ring fence ERDF to support retrofit of energy efficiency in social housing, cutting fuel poverty and carbon emissions and creating training opportunities and jobs in poorer communities.”
Mr Stewart continued:
“While minimum standards already exist in the social rented sector, there are currently no minimum energy efficiency standards in the private sector. The SFHA therefore believes that a system of regulation, with minimum standards set for houses in all sectors, must go hand in hand with a well funded NRP if Scotland is to address fuel poverty and meet the carbon emission targets set in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act in 2009. We believe that the targets to be set should be agreed by 2014, with the first date for targets to be met being 2016.”
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1. WWF Scotland (2012) Mind the Gap: Funding Home Energy Efficiency to Deliver Scotland’s Climate Change and Fuel Poverty Targets
2. Scottish House Conditions Survey: Key Findings 2011 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/4995/downloads
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.