South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway fuel poverty problems 'significant'

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A study has found Dumfries and Galloway is one of the worst regions in Scotland for people struggling to afford to heat their homes.

Nearly half of all households were in fuel poverty - needing to spend 10% or more of income to meet heating costs.

The figures in the report relate to 2014 and are likely to have improved to some extent thanks to lower oil prices.

However, it concluded that many parts of the region experienced "high or very high levels of fuel poverty".

The study was carried out for the Scottish government by researchers working in association with the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

Reasons for fuel poverty include low income, high fuel costs and poor insulation.

In Dumfries and Galloway, 34% of properties had no access to mains gas and relied on more expensive heating such as oil, solid fuel or electricity - the Scottish average without gas is 16%.

Nearly 60% of the region's pensioners were classed as fuel poor, compared with 27% of families.

The study conceded that the picture would have improved since the figures were compiled.

A drop in oil prices in the year after the study would have taken some people out of fuel poverty but it is believed to remain a significant issue.

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