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SFHA responds to Scottish Government statement on major fuel poverty reports

SFHA comments on government response to Scottish fuel poverty reports 

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The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance’s formal response to the recommendations of the Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group and Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force. 

Mary Taylor, SFHA Chief Executive, said:

“We commend the Scottish Government’s commitment to work to address and alleviate fuel poverty in Scotland. We particularly welcome the announcement of a consultation paper on a new, long-term fuel poverty strategy, including proposals for a new overarching target, as well as the establishment of a panel to consider how fuel poverty is defined.

“We are pleased by the announcement of a pilot which will see 220 rural households offered targeted support to cut their energy bills, however, we would hope that this will become permanent and be rolled out across Scotland. We know from our members’ experiences that support and advice is essential to delivering the real benefit of energy efficiency investment to households. 

“It is also welcome news that the government will consult on minimum energy efficiency standards for homes in the private rented sector and phased regulation of other existing buildings to bring them up to higher standards. The SFHA has long called for minimum energy efficiency standards to be set across all tenures in order to reduce fuel poverty.”

Mary Taylor continued:

“Fuel poverty is a major issue for many households across Scotland. While housing associations have the most energy efficient homes in Scotland, these households tend to have lower incomes, so fuel poverty is still a significant issue for our members and their tenants.

“Housing associations have invested significantly in the energy efficiency of their homes. A study commissioned by SFHA found that loft insulation was present in all housing association homes, and gas central heating and cavity wall insulation was installed in the vast majority of homes where possible.

“The areas that now require further investment are more expensive measures such as solid wall insulation, renewable heating for homes off the gas grid and a solution for the mixed ownership stone tenements that are an integral part of our towns and cities. We therefore call on the Scottish Government to provide grant and zero interest loans to support investment in these properties.”

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