Fuel poverty research demonstrates impact

10 November 2017
Dr Keith Baker

Research by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Keith Baker has contributed to a Scottish Government decision to review its definition of fuel poverty.

Work carried out by the University’s Dr Baker and Ron Mould found that more needs to be done to understand and address the needs of the most vulnerable householders, whether they are in fuel poverty or at risk of falling into it.

Dr Baker said: “The current definition is too limited, and the use of blunt thresholds, such as income, is too inflexible – households not classified as being fuel poor may still exhibit characteristics of suffering from the impacts of fuel poverty because they are also vulnerable in other ways, such as due to physical and mental health, or their ability to manage their energy bills.

“Conversely, the limitations of the current definition mean that a small number of householders who are not otherwise classified as poor are counted as being fuel poor because of the size of the properties they need to heat – technically, the Queen would be fuel poor in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government acknowledged the research of Dr Baker, and other academics. As a result, it will review its definition of fuel poverty. If agreed, the new definition will set a new measurement and reduction target going forward to 2040.

The 2017 Scottish Fuel Poverty Definition Review Panel paper is available here.