Late last year, the Forum was asked by Mr Neil to present a range of recommendations to help towards the delivery of the target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. Following several months of detailed deliberations, the Forum has presented its interim findings which it hopes will form the backbone of renewed efforts to support those living in fuel poverty.
Among the recommendations are:
- Proposals for the development of an area-based National Retrofit Programme to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock in Scotland
- Supporting engagement between energy companies and advisory bodies (such as Age Scotland) to ensure vulnerable customers are on the best tariff and receive all other available support to reduce their fuel bills
- Ensure the National Retrofit Programme receives its pro-rata share of the UK Government’s proposed Energy Company Obligation (equivalent to £120m per annum) to reduce carbon emissions and assist vulnerable customers
Age Scotland’s Policy Officer, Greg McCracken, represents the charity on the Forum, said:
“The recommendations of the Forum present a clear direction of travel for the Government if we are to make meaningful progress towards the 2016 Fuel Poverty target.
“There are three principal contributors to fuel poverty: energy prices, income and energy efficiency. The Scottish Government only has powers to affect issues around efficiency. That’s why it is so important that Scotland receives its full entitlement under the Energy Company Obligation – we must ensure that adequate funding is directed towards activities aimed at supporting those most at risk of fuel poverty.”
Mr Neil said:
“A major problem we face – identified by the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum – is in our older houses. These homes lack the kind of modern energy efficiency measures, like high quality boilers and insulation, which can help make houses warmer and cut heating bills.
Working with the energy companies, we believe £200m a year can be devoted to this programme, making a massive difference to hard working householders who simply shouldn’t be worried about their next heating bill.”