The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel Annual Report March 2023 – April 2024

We’re pleased to publish our first annual report. As this is our first annual report, we have set out the work we have done since our appointment in January 2022. We reflect on the significant increase in fuel poverty rates, from 24.6% in 2019 to 31% in 2022, driven by the energy crisis and the wider cost of living crisis, and the impact these have had on those suffering and entering fuel poverty. This is the context which has dictated and shaped our work since we were appointed.

The Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel Annual Report 2023-2024.pdf

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Foreword from the Chair

The Panel believe that fuel poverty can and must be consigned to history by delivering paradigm-shifting outcomes for families and households across Scotland who at the moment live daily with the challenge of fuel poverty. Since 2019, just over two years before the Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel’s appointment, fuel poverty levels in Scotland have increased from 24.6% of households living in fuel poverty to 31%[1], with extreme fuel poverty levels rising from 12.4% of households to 18.5% as at the end of 2022. But behind every figure or percentage there is a real family living in fuel poverty.  And so, in real terms, the number of families and households living in fuel poverty rose from 613,000 to 791,000. As a Panel we know and see firsthand the real impact of living in fuel poverty, on families and individuals, and their capacity to lead a healthy life. We have heard directly from those living in fuel poverty who describe the physical and mental impact of living in a perceived continual crisis, the choices that families and households across Scotland have to make, and the consequential impacts this has on employment, education and resilience.

Notwithstanding the events that have forced a further 178,000 households into fuel poverty and the increased burden placed on those who were struggling already, the Panel is resolute in its mission to ensure that the strategies and solutions that have been developed to address fuel poverty are meaningful, well targeted, and impactful. With the pressures presented by an increase in people needing support, and the spending constraints of the present economic climate it is critical that strategies and solutions are frequently reviewed to ensure that the intended benefits can still be delivered.  Because despite the changing environment, the statutory commitment remains that Scotland is free from fuel poverty by 2040[2].  And to meet these targets, strategies and actions in Scotland and outwith too, by the UK Government, Ofgem, organisations supporting those in fuel poverty, and by the energy system and supply chain, will need to be responsive and evolving.

As this is our first annual report, we will detail the work we have done since our appointment in January 2022, including the advice we have offered on where some additional focus is needed. Our objective, over the past two years, has been to ensure that our recommendations and conclusions are clear and provide a stable foundation which can be built upon in years to come. Our objective is not to criticise, but to provide constructive, evidence and insight-led feedback that further highlights the causes and impacts of fuel poverty and helps to progress the thinking about how it is addressed.

I would like to put on record my thanks to all Panel and Secretariat members who served during the last period.  The professionalism, perspectives and passion you bring cannot be underestimated. It is also important to give my utmost thanks and appreciation for those who have supported those suffering fuel poverty across Scotland. I have seen repeated and outstanding examples of the support, guidance and advice that has been provided to those in fuel poverty from across the third and housing sectors, from government and from companies across the energy system and supply chain. I also recognise the willingness of organisations large and small, and individuals too, to engage with the Panel, and the way that we have been welcomed into the debate around how fuel poverty should be best addressed in Scotland. And it is through recognising that although there are many different perspectives and opinions, we all share one common goal in addressing fuel poverty, this makes me optimistic that a continued and collaborative focus on tackling fuel poverty will deliver the much-needed positive outcomes.

As ever, I welcome any feedback or perspective that you might want to share and can be contacted at

Matthew Cole

Scottish Fuel Poverty Advisory Panel – Chair


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