‘Troubling’ fuel poverty findings in Age Scotland report, says Carmichael

More needs to be done to tackle the scourge of fuel poverty in the Northern Isles, according to MP Alistair Carmichael.

A new report by Age Scotland on the issues facing over 55s in the Scottish islands is “troubling”, the Lib Dem politician said.

He is particularly concerned about fuel poverty given that rates in Shetland and Orkney are much higher than the national average. Here some 44 per cent of households are said to be in fuel poverty while in Orkney the rate is 57 per cent.

The figures need to serve as a “wake-up call”, said Mr Carmichael otherwise authorities will not be able to cope with the “future needs of islanders”.
to compound matters the Northern Isles have one of the “fastest-ageing” populations in Scotland with the proportion of over-75s set to increase significantly in the coming decades.

As part of the Age Scotland research a survey of over-55s was conducted in Orkney.


We’re used to our long, dark winters in the Northern Isles, so naturally heating costs are significantly higher here than in the majority of Scotland. ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL


Mr Carmichael said: “It comes as no surprise to see that fuel poverty is a major worry for those surveyed in Orkney. We’re used to our long, dark winters in the Northern Isles, so naturally heating costs are significantly higher here than in the majority of Scotland.

“It is clear that this weighs heavily on vulnerable members of the community. With fuel poverty rates at 57 per cent in Orkney and 44 per cent in Shetland, more action is clearly needed. It’s about time that the government takes notice of the fuel poverty emergency in the Isles.

“While the findings are troubling, I am grateful to Age Scotland for this timely report. From local organisations all the way up to the national government, we should all take notice, and take steps to respond to the changing needs of our communities.”

According to the Age Scotland website, more than half of the respondents to the Orkney survey said they were concerned about rising fuel costs while 47 per cent admitted turning down their heating to save money.

One in nine older residents said they struggled to pay their fuel bills some or all of the time and 56 per cent worried about the cost of fuel.


Add Your Comment
  • Steven Jarmson

    • August 28th, 2019 11:45

    It would help if the power companies had to give one price to all people.
    I’ve found that at times I’ve been paying over 5p per unit more, on the same “tarriff,” to the same power company as my next door neighbour in almost exactly the identical houses.
    My previous house needed 100% renovation.
    We did it in 3 stages.
    Prior to starting, our tarrif worked out at £105/month.
    We then renovated half the downstairs and our monthly usage dropped by 1/3 so our bills were around £70/month.
    Next increase of our tariff, our bills jumped to £104/month.
    Renovated upstairs. Usage dropped by 40%, we were paying £60/month.
    Next price increase made our bills £105/month.
    Finished down stairs renovation.
    Bills dropped to £80/month.
    Next increase put our bills to £106/month.
    In 3 1/2 years we cut our usage by approx 60%-70% yet still ended up paying almost exactly the same as if we never did a thing to save any power.
    Power companies want a set amount from a particular house.
    We’re told to cut our power usage, but get punished when we do.

  • George irvine

    • August 28th, 2019 17:06

    Good article, it’s also quite sad but true that this plight is also being faced by elderly people living in Orkney and western isles. We should also note that disabled community are also suffering from this high level of domestic fuel poverty. Let’s hope that the recent passing of the Scotland poverty act and the £1billion that has been earmarked to find a solution is put to good use sooner than later


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