Third of North-east families suffering from fuel poverty

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The Scottish Government has admitted its failure to meet fuel poverty targets set for the end of 2016 as figures show that around a third on households still struggle to pay their heating bills, according to a North-east MSP.

Before the Scottish Parliament elections in 2007 the SNP made cast iron commitment to eradicate fuel poverty by the end of 2016 but over the past five years, in most local authority areas, cases of fuel poverty have either gone up or stayed the same.

Figures for the North-east show that very little has changed, with Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dundee and Angus ranging between 29 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. There has also been very little improvement in cases of extreme fuel poverty with figures of around 6 to 14 per cent across the North-east region.

North-east MSP Mike Rumbles said: “This is not just another SNP failure, it is neglect of the worse kind.

“These figures mean that thousands of families and individuals are struggling to heat their homes. Over a million people across Scotland.

“That means that there are children, elderly and the most vulnerable in our society going without adequate heating.

“On top of that, it is well reported that cold and damp homes can lead to further health problems down the line.”

“In the North-east we often get the coldest temperatures in the country so it’s no wonder that almost a third of households are struggling.

“In rural parts of Aberdeenshire and Angus, one in seven spend more than 20% of their income on their energy bills.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to wake up.

It is no use promising election after election that they are going to do something about this very serious issue.

“We need a complete rethink, with proper investment and targeting of resources to the worst cases. No more half measures.”

The figures for fuel poverty in Aberdeenshire are: 2013-2015, 38 per cent; 2012-2014, 39 per cent; 2011-2013, 43 per cent.

The figures for fuel poverty in Angus are: 2013-2015, 43 per cent; 2012-2014, 42 per cent; 2011-2013, 37 per cent.

The statistics for extreme fuel poverty in Aberdeenshire are: 2013-2015, 14 per cent; 2012-2014, 14 per cent; 2011-2013, 17 per cent.

The statistics for extreme fuel poverty in Angus are: 2013-2015, 13 per cent; 2012-2014, 13 per cent; 2011-2013, 11 per cent.