A recent report by the Committee of Fuel Poverty has found that the number of households across England in fuel poverty has risen by 210,000 since 2014 to reach 2.55 million.
This news comes despite the Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy which launched in 2014/15 to increase the efficiency rating of fuel poor homes across England to Band C by 2030.
Each year, the Committee on Fuel Poverty gives an update on the strategy, with their latest report suggesting that ‘progress is stalling’.
To achieve the targets, the Committee on Fuel Poverty has suggested that more funding will be required, increasing the initial £15.4 billion budget to £17.1 billion.
Also highlighted in the report was the need to:
- Assign £1 billion to support a new Clean Growth Challenge fund which will run from 2019-2021
- Introduce new gas connections that will connect low income homes using electric heating to the mains gas grid to reduce their heating costs
- Regulate landlords with strict requirements to improve energy efficiency levels of the properties they make available to rent
- Make Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payments more accessible to fuel poor homes – 10% of the annual £2.1 billion budget is received by fuel poor households
What is the Fuel Poverty Strategy?
The government announced their Fuel Poverty Strategy in 2014/15 to increase the efficiency of ‘as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable’ by 2030. The overall goal is to achieve an efficiency rating of Band C by 2030, with other targets along the way:
- Band E by 2020
- Band D by 2025
It would appear that these targets are unlikely to be met unless a further £2.4 billion is afforded to the 2025 milestone and £8.1 billion put towards the 2030 target.
What is Fuel Poverty?
In the UK, a household is considered fuel poor if 10% of the annual income is spent powering heating systems.
Fuel poverty is measured using the Low Income High Costs (LIHC) indicator, which defines a household as fuel poor if:
- Their fuel costs are above average (higher than the national median)
- Spending that amount on fuel would leave them with a residual income below the official poverty line
Fuel Poverty Statistics
To put fuel poverty into context, take a look through some of the statistics published in the Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report 2018 (2016 data):
- Over the last 10 years, the proportion of households living in fuel poverty has ranged from 10-12%
- Almost 60% of households considered fuel poor are rented
- 18.6% of fuel poor households were built between 1900-1918
- 4.2% of fuel poor households are in dwellings built post-1990