End Fuel Poverty in Scotland

No one should have to choose between a warm meal and a warm home. Cut bills and private profiteering, end the imposition of prepayment meters, and bring energy into public ownership.

An elderly lady experiencing fuel poverty trying to stay warm at home.

Governments at Westminster and Holyrood are not doing enough to protect people from fuel poverty. In 2011, the Scottish Government promised to end fuel poverty in Scotland – but the average family now faces a bill as high as £3,500 per year from April 2023.

That means more than one million households in Scotland experience fuel poverty.

Scotland is an energy-abundant country. No one should be living in fuel poverty in Scotland. No one should have to choose between a warm meal and a warm home, or between powering the stove and powering their electric scooter.

The Scottish Socialist Party is campaigning to end fuel poverty in Scotland, to make Scotland a greener and more sustainable country, and to return energy production and distribution to public ownership.

demand action to end fuel poverty

Public investment in new housebuilding, retrofitting, and publicly-owned green energy production could create 350,000 green jobs and end fuel poverty in Scotland.

We need an immediate cut and cap on gas and electricity bills to make sure that no household is paying more than 10% of its net income on energy.

Households experiencing or at greater risk of the cost of living crisis need greater financial support to prevent fuel poverty in Scotland. Low-income workers, carers, disabled people, and older people are among those at greatest risk of the effects of fuel poverty – but the cost of living crisis and stagnant household incomes harm us all.

We also need to bring household incomes up, as well as bringing their bills down. That’s why the SSP supports workers fighting for pay rises that beat inflation, and why the SSP campaigns for a higher minimum wage equalised for all workers over 16.

The SSP calls for an end to the imposition of prepayment meters, and to equalise the cost of higher-end tarrifs for prepayment cards.

To cut energy bills and cut emissions, our homes and public buildings must become more energy efficient. Currently only 2,000 properties a month in Scotland are being insulated – and most of them are new builds in the private sector. To end fuel poverty in Scotland, the Scottish Government and local authorities must retrofit and reinsulate 20,000 of the coldest, dampest properties every week.

That cost should be covered by public spending – an investment in well-paying, secure jobs that will cut poverty and build a much greener Scotland.

Similarly, we need public investment in publicly-owned sources of more sustainable energy. Public investment in public jobs in environmentally-friendly housebuilding projects, retrofitting programmes, and green energy production could create 350,000 green jobs and end fuel poverty.

a profiteering crisis

“Big Four” energy firms in the UK have seen average profit increases of 84% on pre-pandemic levels. Big polluters like Shell and BP have reported record profits while energy bills run out of control.

Three young women activists with SSP placards reading "free public transport", "socialist green new deal", and "people over profit"

The cost of living crisis is a profiteering crisis. That includes fuel poverty.

An investigation by Unite reveals that profit for the UK’s biggest companies are up an average 89% on pre-pandemic levels. The top four energy providers in the UK – Centrica, E.ON, EDF, and Scottish Power – made combined profits of £9.5 billion, or an increase of 84% since 2019.

In 2022, despite disruption to global supply chains, BP reported profits of £23 billion and Shell saw profits as high as £32.2 billion. Even when wholesale prices of gas have fallen, we don’t benefit from a reduction in bills for households and small businesses. This is price gouging – a crisis of private profiteering that drives inflation.

The SSP does support higher taxes on corporate profits, but one-off taxes on profit are not enough. We need to overhaul how our energy system is run, and who it is run for. Energy is too important to be left in the hands of the private sector. To end fuel poverty and tackle the climate crisis, it needs to be publicly-owned and democratically run.

The SSP opposes the privatisation of green energy sources, like Scotwind. Instead, the SSP calls for the production and distribution of all of Scotland’s energy to be brought into democratic public ownership – not to be run for private profit, but to meet the needs of our people and planet.

Edinburgh End Fuel Poverty coalition

Learn more about the Edinburgh End Fuel Poverty Coalition HERE

The SSP works with other fellow trade unionists and campaigners to end fuel poverty in Scotland, such as in initiatives like the Edinburgh End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

Together, we are campaigning in communities for real action against fuel poverty in Scotland. If you are in Edinburgh, are worried about fuel poverty, and want to support a cross-union, cross-party political campaign, you can follow the Edinburgh End Fuel Poverty Coalition.

Learn more about the Edinburgh End Fuel Poverty Coalition at the link above, or get in touch with organisers directly by emailing edinendfuelpoverty@aol.com.

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