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Winter relief for thousands as Scottish Government backs fuel banks

January 13, 2021

Winter relief for thousands as Scottish Government backs fuel banks Featured Image

Fuel Bank Foundation has received a £444,500 funding boost from the Scottish Government to help vulnerable families stay warm this winter.

The money, which has been awarded from a £7 million fund to tackle fuel poverty, will be used to help fund Fuel Bank Foundation’s 25 fuel bank centres across Scotland.

Fuel banks provide financial support to more than 40,000 vulnerable people who can’t afford to top-up their pre-payment energy meters and are at risk of self-disconnection. The funding will also help provide support for households in remote or rural locations that are reliant on solid fuel.

Since 2016, when the first fuel bank was opened in Glasgow South East, more than £500,000 of emergency fuel credits have been awarded to people in fuel poverty.

According to fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, a quarter (24.6%) of households in Scotland are currently in fuel poverty, with 12.4% in extreme fuel poverty.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to providing funding for our fuel banks through the winter will ensure we can continue providing emergency support at a time when many households will be feeling the pinch from increased winter fuel costs and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Tighter COVID-19 restrictions will mean people spending more time at home and therefore using more energy on heating and lighting and putting extra pressure on their already stretched finances. As a charitable trust we rely on funding from central and devolved government, local authorities, energy companies, and other charitable organisations. Their financial support is invaluable to us and to those in society who depend on it the most.
Matthew Cole, Chair of Trustees - Fuel Bank Foundation

The £7 million for winter fuel is part of the £100 million winter support package announced by the First Minister in November. The remaining funding is being allocated to.

Our Fuel Poverty Act is the most comprehensive fuel poverty legislation anywhere in the UK. We know the pandemic has increased fuel bills for many, with people spending more time at home. There is also a link between groups most at risk of fuel poverty, and those at highest risk of coronavirus (COVID-19), like older people and those with complex health conditions. The £7 million part of our overall winter support package will be targeted to help those most at need. It complements ongoing work, which includes our Fuel Poverty Act, the most comprehensive legislation of its kind in the UK. The Fuel Bank Foundation does tremendous work to help some of the people most impacted by fuel poverty, including those living in remote and rural areas. I am confident this initial funding award will make a real difference to people’s lives.
Aileen Campbell, Communities Secretary

Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body