Five most fuel poor UK cities are all in Scotland, report finds
Scottish cities have been ranked the five worst areas of the UK for fuel poverty.
A map published by MoneySuperMarket.com to chart the problem shows that Dundee topped the table as the most fuel poor city with 28 per cent of residents spending more than 10 per cent of their income on heating their home – followed by Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Falkirk.
According to the research, people who are in fuel poverty in Scotland fall short in paying their yearly energy bills by an average of £437 a year. UK-wide, the shortfall is less, at £371.
However, despite the huge expense, parts of the UK are wasting over £100 a year on inefficient boilers, bulbs, and insulation, as well as by leaving household electronics on standby, the study said.
Fuel poverty capital Dundee is ranked fifth for energy waste, with a potential household wastage of £115.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket.com, said: “It is upsetting to think of so many households in fuel poverty where some of the most significant ways of helping this are not being taken advantage of.
“Many of these households will still be on the most expensive tariffs and could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching, even to a tariff from the same supplier. For those most struggling, many suppliers have schemes to help.”
Norman Kerr, director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, said: “Significant levels of fuel poverty are unacceptable and today’s figures show there is still a lot to be done before we can say no-one in Scotland is struggling to heat their home.
“While this study highlights the levels of fuel poverty found in cities, it must be emphasised that fuel poverty in rural areas is also a major problem. Often homes in rural areas have fewer choices of domestic fuel as they are off the gas grid, and properties can be harder and more expensive to make energy efficient.”
He added: “The figures all point to the need for the Scottish Government to re-double its efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to set ample budgets and targets to achieve an end to cold, damp homes throughout Scotland. Now is not the time to lose momentum on the progress made to date or to lose the desire to make a real difference.”
Dundee City Council published the results of its Fairness Commission in May.
It found, among other things, that fuel poverty across all housing tenures has risen in the Dundee City area to 42 per cent against the Scottish average of 36 per cent and that Dundee City has the highest level of households in fuel poverty across all Scottish cities.
Two-thirds of single pensioner households were also found to suffer from fuel poverty.
Dundee City Council insists a number of initiatives have been deployed.
A spokesperson said: “The Dundee Energy Efficiency Advice Project (DEEAP) is helping to tackle this by improving energy efficiency by giving advice, improving loft and cavity wall insulation and accessing free or low-cost white goods; increasing income by maximising benefit entitlement, renegotiating payments with fuel companies, and providing money advice in relation to fuel bills.
“Positive action is also being taken in Dundee to lower bills by improving internal and external insulation in social housing. So far this is reducing fuel consumption bills by up to 40 per cent.”
Earlier this year, two separate reports from the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force and the Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group between them listed 100 recommendations which they believe the Scottish Government should consider to tackle the problem of fuel poverty, including redefining the phrase.
In November, the Scottish Government missed a previously set target to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland.