Scottish Fuel Poverty Map

News Release

30 December 2021

The worst areas for fuel poverty in Scotland revealed.

As industry and charities call for urgent action to support people with their energy bills this winter, the extent of Scotland’s fuel poverty problem has been geographically captured for the first time.

Figures mapped out by fuel poverty campaigner’s Energy Action Scotland show that 40% of people living in the Western Isles live in fuel poverty compared to just 13% in East Renfrewshire. The Scottish average was 24% of all households.

Fuel poverty is defined by the Scottish Government as any household spending more than 10% of their income on energy – after housing costs have been deducted.

‘It maybe not surprising to most people that the Western Isles is the most fuel poor part of the country given the inclement weather conditions, dependence on electric heating and low levels of energy efficiency, but the extent of the problem is alarming. Two in every five household cannot afford to heat their home is something that needs to be addressed urgently,’ said Energy Action Scotland’s, chief executive, Frazer Scott.

Energy Action Scotland is urging the UK government to cut VAT on energy bills, redistribute the VAT windfall already received to help those with the lowest incomes and consider radical reforms to ensure that vulnerable fuel poor households are protected.

‘This is not a problem that is going away; it is only likely to get worse. We estimate that as prices rocket over 100,000 more households will seriously struggle to heat their homes. We urgently need more government action to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country but particularly targeted at households that suffer the greatest rates of fuel poverty,’ said Frazer.

Industry analysts have warned that continued volatility in wholesale energy markets could push average household energy bills up by more than £700 to £2,000 a year from April.

‘Continued inaction will cost lives. Over 2000 more people die in winter when cold damp homes reduces health and wellbeing than they do in summer,’ he added.


Editors Notes

  • Energy Action Scotland (EAS) campaigns for an end to fuel poverty in Scotland and is the only national charity with this sole remit.
  • EAS aims to develop and promote effective solutions to the problem of cold, damp and expensive to heat homes.
  • Energy Action Scotland is raising £10,000 to provide essential warmth for vulnerable people and their families struggling to heat their homes this winter. Please donate here to help buy items like duvets, hot water bottles and flasks to help keep vulnerable people warm this winter.
  • The Scottish Government published its latest Fuel Poverty Strategy on December 23, 2021
  • The most recent Scottish House Condition Survey found that between 2018 and 2019, rates of fuel poverty increased in remote rural areas from 33% to 43%.
  • Levels of fuel poverty among households using electricity as their primary heating fuel have remained the highest, at 43%, compared to households using gas 22%, oil 28% and other fuel types 31% as their primary heating fuel in 2019.
  • In 2019, half of Scottish homes had an Energy Efficiency Rating of 67 or higher which is no improvement on the previous year.