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Consultation launched on government action to tackle fuel poverty

Scotland is taking a “bolder and more focused” approach to tackling fuel poverty, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said.

The Scottish Government missed its target to eradicate the problem by 2016, with ministers now looking to set new goals to reduce it.

A new consultation is being launched, with Mr Stewart insisting the government will take a “bolder and more focused approach” to dealing with fuel poverty.

The new targets will be included in the government’s Warm Homes Bill, which will be brought forward in 2018, making them legally binding.

Almost a third (30.7%) of homes in Scotland are affected by fuel poverty, according to campaigners at Energy Action Scotland, with 748,000 households having to spend at least 10% of their income on energy costs.

Mr Stewart said: “We know that far too many people find themselves struggling with unaffordable energy costs, including the elderly, families with young children and those with serious medical conditions.

“This is unacceptable in a modern, progressive and compassionate country like ours.

“This is why we are now seeking views on a new long-term strategy which sets out ambitious targets to reduce fuel poverty. By lifting those experiencing fuel poverty into a better quality of life we can create a fair and more equal society.

“Scotland is one of only a handful of European countries to define fuel poverty and now we are taking an even bigger step. Our fuel poverty strategy and Warm Homes Bill will take a bolder and more focused approach to reducing fuel poverty.”

Director of Energy Action Scotland Norman Kerr said: “Energy Action Scotland welcomes this consultation on the fuel poverty strategy.

“As the national fuel poverty charity we are fortunate to be able to draw upon decades of experience and relationships within our national network of experts, in order to turn cold, damp houses into warm, dry homes.

“We are delighted to have the Minister launch the fuel poverty consultation at our conference and it is our aim that both will contribute to ending the blight of fuel poverty in Scotland.

“The Government should hear from as many groups and organisations as possible – this forthcoming strategy is too important not to have a voice in shaping.”

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