FIGURES mapped out by fuel poverty campaigner’s Energy Action Scotland show that 29% of people living in the Scottish Borders live in fuel poverty.
The Scottish average was 24% of all households.
Fuel poverty is defined by the Scottish Government as any household spending more than 10% of their income on energy – after housing costs have been deducted.
“Two in every five household cannot afford to heat their home is something that needs to be addressed urgently,” said Energy Action Scotland’s, chief executive, Frazer Scott.
Energy Action Scotland is urging the UK government to cut VAT on energy bills, redistribute the VAT windfall already received to help those with the lowest incomes and consider radical reforms to ensure that vulnerable fuel poor households are protected.
‘This is not a problem that is going away; it is only likely to get worse. We estimate that as prices rocket over 100,000 more households will seriously struggle to heat their homes. We urgently need more government action to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country but particularly targeted at households that suffer the greatest rates of fuel poverty,’ said Frazer.
Industry analysts have warned that continued volatility in wholesale energy markets could push average household energy bills up by more than £700 to £2,000 a year from April.
‘Continued inaction will cost lives. Over 2000 more people die in winter when cold damp homes reduces health and wellbeing than they do in summer,’ he added.
The highest rate was 40% of people living in the Western Isles with the lowest at just 13% in East Renfrewshire.