AS MANY as 35 per cent of Scottish households remain in fuel poverty with less than one year to go to the deadline for ending cold homes, figures show.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001requires the Scottish Government to eradicate fuel poverty, as far as is reasonably practicable, by November 2016.

However, figures produced yesterday show there has been little change since last year and a disproportionate level of those affected live in cold, leaky homes.

Almost 75 per cent of households rated F or G for energy performance are fuel poor.

Yesterday, campaigners and charities called on the Scottish Government to commit “significant investment” into energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority in today’s draft budget and end cold homes by 2025.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “It is clearly unacceptable that today, in a modern Scotland, so many children are growing up in fuel poverty.

“Against a backdrop of family incomes put under increasing pressure by the political choices of the UK Government, the additional burden of a difficult-to-heat home is an unnecessary one.

“With a target of eradicating fuel poverty less than a year away, the Scottish Government should use their Budget to invest in a long-term plan for ridding Scotland of cold homes.”

A household is defined as being in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain satisfactory heating, it would be required to spend more than ten per cent of its income on all fuel use.

The figures, published in the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS), also revealed the proportion of social housing dwellings that did not meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) in 2014 was 45 per cent, compared with 43 per cent the previous year.

Shelter Scotland called the lack of progress “disappointing”, while the Green party’s co-convener, Patrick Harvie, said that the figures reveal “the scale of the challenge”. Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Important drivers of fuel poverty are outwith the control of the Scottish Government but we are determined to do all we can to tackle it. In September, we launched our new fuel poverty scheme, which aims to help up to 28,000 more households stay warm over the next seven years.

“The Warmer Homes Scotland scheme is worth up to £224 million and aims to help fuel poor households heat their homes with heating and insulation measures.”