Scottish public call on Ministers to fix nation’s damp homes

An overwhelming majority of the public have called on the Scottish Government to do more to end the cold damp homes crisis.

New figures published in the Daily Record found that 94% of the public wanted action designed to offset the challenges caused by record energy prices. [1]

The data commissioned by the Warm This Winter campaign found that the public was divided among the solutions they wanted to see, but there was clear support for more financial help for households as well as action on the long term solutions to the energy crisis, such as energy efficiency and insulation support.

  • 51% of the public want more government financial support to help households with high energy bills
  • 50% demand funding and support to install solar panels on homes
  • 38% support more funding to help with insulation in homes
  • 30% say there should be help for businesses to install solar panels or other small-scale renewable projects
  • 29% back better protection for tenants living in rented accommodation
  • 26% think there should be better energy efficiency advice and guidance
  • 25% want more funding to help install heat pumps
  • 3% would like more measures to tackle high energy bills, but don’t know what solutions they would like to see
  • 6% don’t support any of these solutions to tackle high energy bills (respondents could select more than one option)

Recently members of the Scottish Parliament were urged to put political differences aside to unite in support measures that will help end fuel poverty.

In a letter sent to all MSPs and to Scottish Government ministers, politicians were asked to ensure the new First Minister does not abandon government policies which could help end the cold damp homes crisis.

The letter, signed by leading civil society organisations and coordinated by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition and Energy Action Scotland, warned that among the most vulnerable, the crisis is even worse.  It came after figures from research among Social Workers Union members found that 69% of Scottish social workers have seen the people they support living in cold damp homes and 400,000 Scots live in uninhabitable conditions.

The campaigners have demanded that MSPs from across all parties to unite in support of:

  1. A Heat in Buildings Bill which is ambitious in its vision for improving the energy efficiency and insulation of the nation’s homes and contains a clear fuel poverty duty enshrined in the legislation.
  2. The current Housing Bill that will enhance tenants’ rights and provide financial protections for tenants during the ongoing cost of living crisis.
  3. Additional Government support in future budgets and legislation to help households cope with the cost of living crisis.
  4. Reintroducing the Fuel Insecurity Fund to help at least those most at risk of harm and struggling in energy debt.
  5. The new Pension Age Winter Heating Payment being fundamentally better targeted than the Winter Fuel Payment that it replaces.
  6. A strengthened framework of support for the renewables and offshore wind sectors and the fastest possible “just transition” for the oil and gas sector, as described in the Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.

National organisations that supported these asks ranged from the Poverty Alliance and the Disability Poverty Campaign Group to Fathers Network Scotland, the National Pensioners Convention and Parents for Future Scotland. 

Local groups, such as Aberdeen Heat & Power, East Kilbride Housing Association, East Lothian Foodbank, Stirling District Citizens Advice and Tighean Innse Gall also backed the call.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“These figures show that while different households back different types of support to combat the cold homes crisis, everyone is united in demanding action from the new First Minister.

“Part of the long term solution to record energy prices is to improve insulation, ventilation and energy efficiency of homes to reduce our consumption of energy overall. Abandoning a Heat in Buildings Bill now would fail people struggling in cold damp homes.”

Frazer Scott, Chief Executive Officer at Energy Action Scotland, said:

“With one in three households in Scotland in fuel poverty and household energy debt rising, it is clear that the public are demanding that more needs to be done to help with the costs of essential energy.

“Almost half of people in Scotland live in an inefficient, expensive to heat and power home. People need to see action from leaders and decision makers that will improve homes, reduce costs and support people to live a decent quality of life.

“The cost of failing to help people will be measured in the misery of far too many of our households, declines in health & wellbeing and ultimately the unnecessary loss of life from living in a cold damp home.” [2]

Fi Waters, spokesperson for the Warm This Winter campaign, added:

“The First Minister has pledged to tackle child poverty and a good place to start is in the home. All children deserve a warm, dry home, in fact it should be a basic human right for all Scots, which is why policies such as the Heat in Buildings Bill needs to be a central pillar of his parliament.

“Our polling found over half of Scottish people want more government help for people struggling to pay high energy bills, half want to see more funding for solar panels and four in ten more money for insulation.

“The Scottish people have spoken and want a government that will fix the broken energy system by investing in a proper programme of home insulation and homegrown renewable energy to get them off expensive oil and gas and bring bills down permanently. Swinney should listen.”


[1] ScotPulse interviewed 2,660 Scottish adults aged over 16 between 7-10 May 2024. Results were weighted by gender and age to Scottish adult population estimates 2021.

[2] Scottish Government published the Scottish House Condition Survey for the year 2022 on 29th February which confirmed that at least 31% of households in Scotland were in fuel poverty and that this was a likely underestimate. It estimated that 37% of households were likely to be in fuel poverty at end March 2023. The 2022 survey identifies that 48% of properties did not reach an Energy Performance Certificate rating of ‘C’, which the Scottish Government determines to be efficient.