Government misled Parliament on fuel poverty

November 27th, 2013
  • Government misled Energy and Climate Change Committee on fuel poverty spending
  • Both of Government’s flagship energy efficiency policies are failing
  • Chancellor told to get a grip on cold homes by world’s biggest fuel poverty alliance


The Government misled Parliament on fuel poverty spending, it is claimed today.


Despite Government claiming it will increase support for families who cannot afford to heat their homes, Government spending to tackle fuel poverty fell to its lowest level last year.


In October this year the Government denied that spending to help people keep their homes warm had fallen and promised that by 2014-15 it would be pumping more cash into fighting fuel poverty than in 2009-10, before the coalition came to power.


The Government stated:  “Neither the Government’s commitment to fuel poverty nor the spending directed towards it has diminished. Spending will, in fact, be higher in 2014/15 than it was in 2009/10.”


In fact, in 2012-13, Government spending on energy efficiency for the fuel poor plummeted by more than half from its 2010-11 peak, according to new analysis from the Energy Bill Revolution.


By 2014-15, spending on fuel poverty will still be more than £800m below the levels seen at the end of the last Labour government, directly contradicting the claim made to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.


Last year’s plunge in financial support for the fuel poor came during one of the coldest British winters on record and after energy bills had risen.


Figures released later this month are expected to show that thousands of people died unnecessarily last winter from the cold.


Ahead of the Autumn Statement on 5th December, the Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s biggest fuel poverty campaign, today tells George Osborne to get a grip on fuel poverty, and invest more in energy efficiency to slash crippling heating bills.


The fuel poverty crisis


Five million UK households are in fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10% of their income on keeping their homes warm.


On average 24,000 die every winter due to the cold with many of these due to people living in cold homes.


The fuel poverty crisis is getting worse, with every energy supplier raising energy bills this winter.


ONS statistics released this week warned of above-inflation rises on energy bills for the next 17 years, with the average energy bill due to be £700 more expensive by 2030.


Government’s energy efficiency failure


Today’s figures come as a severe blow to David Cameron’s dream of making the UK the most energy efficient country in Europe, which he spelt out earlier this year.


Recent figures reveal the dismal failings on both of the Government’s flagship energy efficiency policies.


The Green Deal, which gives home owners Government-backed loans to upgrade their properties, has been taken up by a meager 57 households in its first nine months.


The Government’s embarrassment is compounded by figures released this week showing that most energy companies are falling far short of their obligations to install insulation and better boilers for their customers under the Energy Companies Obligation.


Even if successful, ECO will only provide one eighth of the spending necessary to end the scourge of fuel poverty inBritain.


The Prime Minister warned business leaders at a conference in February that “the economies in Europe that will prosper are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient.”


By 2014-15, less than £1 in every £5 spent by the Government on alleviating fuel poverty will go to energy efficiency schemes.


The remainder of the fuel poverty spending will go on subsidising the rising cost of heating bills, providing valuable support to vulnerable people in the short term but doing nothing to address the cause of fuel poverty.


Super-insulation would slash heating bills by £500 a year


Energy Efficiency spending is the only long term way to cut energy bills for every British family.


A programme of super-insulation would save the average family household £500 on their energy bill, and eliminate fuel poverty once and for all.


The Energy Bill Revolution alliance, which represents over 150 British businesses, charities, energy companies and unions, says 600,000 homes a year could be super-insulated by recycling Carbon Tax, which over the next 15 years will swell treasury coffers by £4bn a year.


Their ambition is to make UK homes as well insulated as new homes built today. They want home energy efficiency to be made the UK’s number one infrastructure priority.



Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution, said: “It is scandalous that last year with soaring heating bills and freezing cold temperatures our government spent less than ever on fighting cold homes. Energy efficiency is the best long term solution to bring down energy bills but the Government’s schemes are under-funded and failing.  In his Autumn Statement the Chancellor must get a grip on fuel poverty and increase investment in energy efficiency, the only long term solution. If he recycled carbon tax to super insulate our homes we would have a way to eliminate the scourge of fuel poverty once and for all.”


Original research can be found in our resources page

MPs supporting the campaign
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