Fuel poverty crisis worsens

June 12th, 2014

The fuel poverty gap is growing – Tell your MP

The Government today released its official fuel poverty statistics for England showing that the fuel poverty crisis is getting worse.

Despite a small reduction in final fuel poverty figures between 2011 and 2012 the statistics show that fuel poverty is projected by DECC to have worsened in the last two years. Fuel poverty in England increased from 2.28 million households in 2012 to 2.33 million in 2014. And the severity of fuel poverty has also got worse – with the average gap between those who can and can’t afford their energy bills increasing from £443 to £480.

Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution, an alliance of 180 UK organisations campaigning to end fuel poverty said:

“The Government has spent the last four years re-defining fuel poverty and removing the legal duty to eliminate it. They should have invested that energy in tackling the crisis.  The real message of the figures released today is that fuel poverty has got worse and the Government’s energy efficiency policies have been a shocking failure. The solution is to make home energy efficiency a UK priority infrastructure investment with the aim of making every low income household highly energy efficient. We have the most badly insulated homes in Western Europe and as a result one of the highest rates of winter deaths. It is time to end this national scandal.”

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Notes to Editors

• In 2012, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at around 2.28 million under the new fuel poverty definition for England.This is a fall from 2.39 million households in 2011 (a reduction of almost 5%). In line with this, the aggregate fuel poverty gap (in real terms) also dropped by around five per cent, from £1.06 billion in 2011 to £1.01 billion in 2012, as did the average fuel poverty gap over this period, from £445 to £443.

• The number of households in fuel poverty is projected to increase from 2.28 million in 2012, to 2.33 million in 2014, with increases in energy costs a key factor.

• The aggregate fuel poverty gap is also projected to increase from £1 billion in 2012, to £1.1 billion in 2014; and the average gap is projected to increase from £443 in 2012 to £480 in 2014.

• The depth and likelihood of being fuel poor increases markedly with lower energy efficiency SAP scores. In 2012, 35 per cent of households living in G rated properties were fuel poor compared to only two and seven per cent living in A/B/C and D rated properties respectively.

• The West Midlands followed by the East Midlands had the highest rate of fuel poverty (with fuel poverty rates of 15% and 13% respectively). Households living in the South East and East have the lowest levels of fuel poverty (at 8% and 9% respectively).

Fuel poverty in England is now measured by the Low Income High Costs definition, which considers a household to be fuel poor if:

• they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level)

• were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.

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