Fuel poverty blights lives – it affects both physical health and mental wellbeing.
Scotland’s fuel poverty figures take into account household heating needs, what it costs to meet these and whether this leaves enough money left over for households to maintain an acceptable standard of living. (The definition of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty is set out in the Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019).
34% of households in Scotland are currently living in fuel poverty and 23% of households are living in extreme fuel poverty.*1
These figures are stark but they do not convey the daily reality of living in fuel poverty.
Who’s affected and what makes people more vulnerable to fuel poverty?
Household fuel poverty is driven by different factors: household income, fuel costs and energy consumption (the latter can be affected by the energy efficiency of homes).
People are more likely to be in, or fall into fuel poverty, if they:
- have an ongoing health condition which requires higher-than-average amounts of energy
- have a low income
- live in a home off the gas grid
- live in a rural area
What are the Scottish Government’s Fuel Poverty Targets?
The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel, as part of its role, is responsible for scrutinising and monitoring the Scottish Government’s progress towards meeting its 2040 Fuel Poverty Targets, which are shown below.
Fuel Poverty Targets
In the year 2040, as far as reasonably possible, no household in Scotland is in fuel poverty.
No more than 15% of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty.
No more than 5% of households in Scotland are in extreme fuel poverty.
The median fuel poverty gap is no more than £350.
No more than 10% of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty.
No more than 3% of households in Scotland are in extreme fuel poverty.
The median fuel poverty gap is no more than £300.
No more than 5% of households in Scotland are in fuel poverty.
No more than 1% of households in Scotland are in extreme fuel poverty.
The median fuel poverty gap is no more than £250.
*1These are Scottish Government estimates for July to September 2023. They are based on the price cap at £2,074 under the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) and the removal of the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme. They have been produced by uprating modelled fuel bills from the 2019 Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) in line with the price cap under the EPG and accounting for the other support available to households.