Scottish cities have been ranked the five worst areas of the UK for fuel poverty, a map to chart the problem has revealed.
Dundee tops the table of the most fuel poor in the UK, according to the fuel poverty map published by MoneySuperMarket.com, with 28 per cent of residents spending more than 10 per cent of their income on heating their home - followed by Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Falkirk.
People who are in fuel poverty in Scotland fall short in paying their yearly energy bills by an average shortfall of £437 a year, the study said. UK-wide, the shortfall is less, at £371.
However, despite the huge expense, parts of the UK are wasting over £100 a year on inefficient boilers, bulbs, and insulation, as well as by leaving household electronics on standby, according to new research by MoneySuperMarket.com. Dundee, which has more people who are deemed to be fuel poor than anywhere else in the UK, is ranked fifth for energy waste, with a potential household wastage of £115.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket.com, said: “It is upsetting to think of so many households in fuel poverty where some of the most significant ways of helping this are not being taken advantage of. Many of these households will still be on the most expensive tariffs and could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching, even to a tariff from the same supplier. For those most struggling, many suppliers have schemes and initiatives to help.”
Norman Kerr, director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland said: “Significant levels of fuel poverty are unacceptable and today’s figures show there is still a lot to be done before we can say no-one in Scotland is struggling to heat their home.
“While this study highlights the levels of fuel poverty found in cities, it must be emphasised that fuel poverty in rural areas is also a major problem. Often homes in rural areas have fewer choices of domestic fuel as they are off the gas grid, and properties can be harder and more expensive to make energy efficient.”
He added: “The figures all point to the need for the Scottish Government to re-double its efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to set ample budgets and targets to achieve an end to cold, damp homes throughout Scotland. Now is not the time to lose momentum on the progress made to date or to lose the desire to make a real difference.”
Earlier this year, two separate reports from the Scottish Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force and the Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group between them listed 100 recommendations which they believe the Scottish Government should consider to tackle the problem of fuel poverty, including redefining the phrase.
In November, the Scottish Government missed a previously Government-set target to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland.