Fuel Poverty in Scotland

In 2015, 748,000 homes in Scotland were technically fuel poor, constituting around one third of Scotland’s households, with levels of fuel poverty amongst elderly householders exceeding 70% in the Western Isles (Eilean Siar).

Fuel poverty, which in Scotland is currently defined as a household needing to spend 10% of their income to meet a standardised heating regime, is itself the result of a complex interplay of many factors, from the condition and quality of the buildings that we live in to the ways we use energy in our homes. Whether economically active or inactive, our ability to afford even a basic modern standard of living and mitigate the impacts of these physical and behavioural factors can become an overwhelming component of the fuel poverty condition.

As academics and practitioners we share the view that in an energy rich nation it is not acceptable that such a large proportion of households suffer daily the deleterious effects of energy rationing, or that they are forced to manage debts just to maintain a reasonable modern standard of living. We believe we have a duty to continually question our understanding of this modern societal inequality, and the methods and approaches we take to identifying and tackling it.