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SFHA releases new fuel poverty briefing

Briefing is a supplement to SFHA's previously published manifesto.

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SFHA has released a new fuel poverty briefing with examples of some of the energy advice and support services its members provide. As a supplement to SFHA's previously published manifesto, the briefing is intended to inform key priorities for social renewal in light of the Covid-19 pandemic alongside the longer-term ambitions of the updated Climate Change Plan, Draft Heat in Buildings Strategy, the recently published Housing to 2040 strategy and the forthcoming Fuel Poverty Strategy

The paper includes three case studies – Hillcrest Homes (Scotland) Limited, Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association and Wheatley Group/Glasgow Housing Association – giving an overview of the work these organisations do to combat fuel poverty. A common theme throughout is that, as community anchors, these organisations are well placed to build good relationships with individuals and communities and develop their services on this basis.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has provided emergency funding to help alleviate fuel poverty through the Supporting Communities Fund and the recent Social Housing Fuel Support Fund. While this has been welcomed, SFHA is calling on the next Scottish Government to provide increased funding to reduce fuel poverty and to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. 

Key asks of the Scottish Government:

  • Publish the final version of the delayed Fuel Poverty Strategy as a matter of urgency along with increased funding to tackle fuel poverty and energy efficiency in line with the Existing Homes Alliance call for this year’s budget to be increased to £244million.
  • Review the current level of grant subsidy within the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, with a commitment to increase subsidy rates in line development costs over the next five years. This should reflect  the increased costs building homes to the required energy standards including the proposed changes to Building Standards (expected in 2021) and the forthcoming New Build Heat Standard.
  • Provide additional funding for social landlords to support energy efficiency improvements and decarbonisation of heat in the existing stock. This should build on schemes such as the Social Housing Net Zero Heat Fund with multi-year funding which supports the transition to net zero and ensures the costs are not passed on to tenants.
  • Work with the sector to understand how the current EESSH2 targets will impact tenants and review the approach in line with emerging evidence. We will soon be sharing the findings of our research with Changeworks on the cost implications of meeting the current targets, alongside the expected energy savings and impact on fuel poverty and ask the Scottish Government to ensure these targets are in the tenant’s best interest.
  • Ensure the public engagement strategy on climate change includes a national education campaign on energy efficiency and low carbon technologies. Social landlords should be a key delivery stakeholder in this strategy and supported to deliver high quality advice to social housing tenants in order to reduce fuel poverty and maximise the benefits of energy efficiency and heating upgrades

As part of the Existing Homes Alliance, we are also calling for:

  • A Warm Homes (Heat and Energy Efficiency in Buildings) (Scotland) Bill to give clarity and confidence. A legislative framework will provide the certainty needed to attract private investment, support Scotland’s homeowners, landlords and supply chains whilst ensuring fairness and quality.
  • Targeted Funding for a Just Transition, significantly scaling up successful Energy Efficient Scotland programmes. This should include a ‘Countdown to 2040 Delivery Plan’ which shows how we will meet targets, including a package of support and incentives so we can convert over one  million homes to zero or low emissions heating systems, in the most cost effective and efficient way, and without passing costs on to those who can least afford it.
  • A Programme of Innovation to Deliver Green Jobs, develop expertise and build confidence. Through investing in energy efficiency retrofit and low carbon heat, we can create between 16,000 and 17,000 skilled jobs over the next decade.

Further details can be found in the full briefing below. 

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