WHILE AREAS MOST AFFECTED HAVE THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF FUEL POOR HOUSEHOLDS
ALBA Depute Leader and fair energy prices campaigner Kenny MacAskill MP has obtained new figures from the UK Government which show that Scotland, with almost 1 in 5 domestic properties, has the highest number of households off the gas grid, of any of the home nations. In addition the figures reveal that the areas which are most affected in Scotland also have the highest levels of fuel poverty. Mr MacAskill has obtained the information in response to parliamentary written questions.
The figures reveal:
- Almost 1 in 5 (19%) of domestic properties in Scotland are off the gas grid. This equates to 512,000 households across the country.
- The figure is 15% for Britain as a whole, and 15% for England and Wales.
- The highest numbers of domestic properties off the gas grid are: Shetland Islands (100%), Orkney (100%), Western Isles (88%), Highlands (61%), Argyll and Bute (56%), Aberdeenshire (42%), Dumfries and Galloway (39%), Scottish Borders (34%), Perth and Kinross (33%), Moray (30%), Angus (26%), Stirling (20%), Dundee (17%), Glasgow (17%) and South Ayrshire (14%).
The Scottish Government’s own fuel poverty statistics from the Housing Conditions Survey 2019 show the correlation between being off the gas grid and higher levels of fuel poverty. The highest numbers of households experiencing fuel poverty are:
- Western Isles (40%), Highlands (33%), Argyll and Bute (32%), Moray (32%), Orkney Islands
(31%), Shetland Islands (31%), Dundee (31%), Dumfries and Galloway (29%), Scottish Borders (29%), West Dunbartonshire (29%), Inverclyde (28%), North Ayrshire (28%), East Ayrshire (27%), Glasgow (25%), Perth and Kinross (25%) and Aberdeenshire (24%).
In a statement Kenny MacAskill MP said:
“These figures show the stark reality for half a million households off the gas grid who because they rely on more expensive unregulated fuels such as heating oil, LPG or biomass or live in hard to insulate homes are at a greater risk of being fuel poor.
“Despite much if not most of North Sea Gas production being in Scottish waters, we have the absurdity of four in ten households in Aberdeenshire being off the gas grid. Moreover, St Fergus in Aberdeenshire is one of the major landing points for the UK and yet many of the people who live closest to our massive energy resource, have to rely on more expensive unregulated fuel as their main source of domestic heating.
“No other country and no other government would tolerate this state of affairs and nor should Scotland.
“How can it be that Scotland’s massive energy resources are being transmitted south, with no tangible financial or economic benefit to Scotland while so many of our people, probably around a million, are off the gas grid and unable to adequately heat their homes?
“We should be demanding that the wealth from our massive energy resources is used to invest in the wellbeing of our people, particularly in the islands and in remote and rural Scotland.
“We need a massive programme of energy efficiency and home insulation and we need to see investment at scale to replace inefficient heating systems, starting with the homes that are most effected by extreme fuel poverty.
“I am also calling for the UK Government to provide significant additional financial support, through the Energy Bill Support Scheme, for homes that rely on unregulated fuels as their main or only source of domestic heating, instead of the inadequate pittance provided by the UK Government.
“The issue of rising energy costs, driving up the levels of fuel poverty, in energy rich Scotland is the issue of our time and it is high time that it was addressed with the urgency that it deserves.”