Fuel poverty has reached its highest level in a decade, with rising energy prices meaning that almost two out of five homes in Scotland are now suffering from the problem.

Scottish Government figures for 2013 showed that 940,000 households across the country were classed as being in fuel poverty - a rise of about 100,000 from the previous year.

There were 39.1% of households in fuel poverty last year - a rise of almost four percentage points from 2012 and more than double the total of 16% that were affected in 2003-04.

Some 10.5% of households were suffering from extreme fuel poverty in 2013 - up from 9.4% the previous year.

The report said that "despite improvements in energy efficiency, higher energy prices led to an increase in fuel poverty rates".

The rise in fuel prices alone would have seen levels of fuel poverty increase by six percentage points, it added, but said some of this was mitigated by homes being more energy efficient and rising incomes.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess demanded more action from Westminster to deal with the "scandalous" level of fuel poverty.

She called on the UK Government to increase payments made under the Warm Homes Discount Scheme - which offers some of those receiving Pension Credit £140 off their fuel bill.

Mrs Burgess said: "Fuel prices rose by an inflation-busting 7% in 2013, pushing more people into fuel poverty. The fact that this is happening in an energy-rich country is scandalous.

"We have invested over £300 million since 2009 to make fuel-poor homes more energy-efficient.

"This year and next, we are spending £94 million to improve energy efficiency. Around one in three Scottish households, over 700,000, have now benefited from measures like new boilers or insulation.

"Today's statistics make clear that without action to improve energy efficiency, which is our responsibility, price increases would have put even more households into fuel poverty in 2013."

She continued: "Fuel costs have risen six times faster than incomes since 2003 while the UK Government's fiscal policies since June 2010 will leave the poorest 20% of households worse-off by the equivalent of £441 per year in 2015-16.

"We will mitigate against this where possible but we know there are further cuts to come.

"That is why we are calling on the UK Government to increase the Warm Homes Discount and fund that increase centrally.

"That would give immediate relief to the lowest income households and those on benefits, and go some way to lifting people out of fuel poverty this winter."

A household is regarded as being in fuel poverty if more than 10% of income is spent on heating while those in extreme fuel poverty spend more than 20% of income.

The Scottish Government has already committed to eradicating the problem "as far as practically possible" by November 2016.

David Stewart, of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said that fuel poverty was now at "crisis levels in Scotland" and called for more to be done to provide warm, affordable homes.

Mr Stewart, the SFHA policy manager, added: "Too many households cannot afford to heat their homes and they face a choice between heating their homes or eating this winter.

"While housing associations and co-operatives lead on energy efficiency in Scotland, with the most energy-efficient homes in the country, rising fuel prices mean that more needs to be done to insulate tenants against fuel poverty."

He called for action from the Scottish Government, saying: "What now needs to be tackled are the more expensive-to-treat properties, such as multi-storey buildings that require solid wall insulation or properties that are off the gas network which would benefit from renewable heating such as biomass boilers or air source heat pumps.

"We have an opportunity to address the scourge of fuel poverty by prioritising investment in the energy efficiency of Scotland's homes.

"We know that investing in retrofit schemes cuts fuel bills, helps to address climate change and creates jobs and apprenticeships.

"We are, therefore, calling on the Scottish Government to make investment in the energy efficiency of existing homes a national infrastructure priority."