Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for Public Services, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, has raised a question with the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights on the progress the Scottish Government has made toward achieving its target to eliminate people living in fuel poverty by November 2016.
This issue was raised by Dr Simpson following the publishing of the Scottish House Condition Survey which has found that 940,000 households in Scotland were living in fuel poverty in 2013. This is an increase of 4% from the previous year.
Fuel poverty is defined by a need to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use, in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime.
The National Record of Scotland has also published a report which showed that there were 22,011 registered deaths in Scotland in winter 2014/15, the highest level since winter 1999/2000.
Dr Simpson has therefore asked for assurances from the Minister that the target is now back on track and will be met by November 2016.
Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:
“Figures show that, far from reaching or achieving the fuel poverty target, fuel poverty peaked in 2013, with almost 1million houses, or 4 in 10 of all households in Scotland, living in fuel poverty, with 252,000 of those in extreme fuel poverty. The reality is that people will face the devastating choice of whether to heat their home or provide food for the table.
“Winter deaths in Scotland last year were also at their highest for 15 years and this is very worrying. It is the cold, hard-to-heat homes continue to leave the most vulnerable in our society at the mercy of cold weather each winter.
“Nicola Sturgeon said we should judge the SNP Government on its record. The recent statistics show a failing record to plan for the long-term. Winter is coming and the real concern for people across the country is that this will be repeated again this year.”
Scottish House Conditions Survey
Data from the National Records of Scotland show there were 22,011 deaths registered in the four months between December 2014 and March 2015.
The number is up from 18,675 the previous season and the highest since the winter of 1999/00.