Targets committing the Scottish Government to reduce fuel poverty to below 5% of Scottish households by 2040 have been approved by MSPs. Holyrood has voted unanimously to pass a Bill to cut the number of households affected by “the blight of fuel poverty” to 15% by 2030 and 5% by 2040. A new independent watchdog will also be created to monitor progress towards the targets. Fuel poverty is currently defined as a household spending 10% of its net income on fuel costs after housing, care and childcare costs, but the new proposals will make the link with income even closer. Speaking during the final stage of the Bill’s progress to become law, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I believe the Bill is in excellent shape and will help ensure that the blight of fuel poverty is tackled with a seriousness and consistency of effort that it demands.” Stewart said: “We have established a challenging but – importantly – achievable target to reduce fuel poverty to no more than 5% of households by 2040. Scottish Labour’s Alex Rowley struck a less enthusiastic tone, saying his party would be supporting the Bill because “any target is better than no target”, pointing out that previous efforts to eradicate fuel poverty have failed. “We believe we should – across this chamber – be more ambitious for Scotland to tackle fuel poverty,” he added, criticising the SNP and Tories for voting against Labour’s suggestion of bringing the target forward to 2032.
The National 12th June 2019 read more »