Report: UK fuel poverty is beginning to decrease

According to the 2012 Annual Report on Fuel Poverty Statistics the number of households in fuel poverty is beginning to decrease. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today published data results for England in 2010, and an estimated level of fuel poverty in the entire UK in 2010.

The report outlines that the number of fuel poor households in England fell to 3.5 million in 2010, down from 4.0 million in 2009. In the UK, fuel poverty fell from 5.5 million households in 2009 to 4.75 million in 2010.

DECC suggests that the reduction in fuel poverty was caused by three main factors including rising incomes among at risk households, improvements in housing energy efficiency and small changes in domestic energy prices between 2009 and 2010.

The amount of vulnerable households in fuel poverty also decreased in England in 2010, with figures reducing to 2.8 million, down from 3.2 million in 2009. In the UK, an estimated 4 million vulnerable households were fuel poor in 2010, compared with around 4.75 million a year earlier.

Future projections for England indicate that there will be approximately 3.5 million fuel poor households in 2011 and 3.9 million in 2012. Significant fuel rice rises in the second half of 2011 will not fully impact on fuel poverty data until 2012.

Commenting on the Fuel Poverty statistics for 2010, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “I am encouraged by the fall in fuel poverty in the period to April 2011, but there is no room for complacency. Fuel poverty remains a serious national problem and the Coalition is absolutely committed to tackling it.

“People can still get help with heating and insulation through Warm Front and around 2 million households will get money off their energy bills this year through the Warm Home Discount scheme.

“However, our ambitious new policies including the Green Deal will go much further. The Green Deal will help people pay for home improvements through savings on their energy bills with extra financial help for the most vulnerable.”

However, while today's statistics are positive, Friends of the Earth says Government must tackle the national scandal of fuel poverty by stopping homes leaking heat and reducing the nation’s reliance on increasingly expensive gas and other fossil fuels.

The campaign group's Executive Director, Andy Atkins, said: “Energy efficiency measures played a significant role in cutting the number of households in fuel poverty in 2010 - so it’s a disgrace that the current Government has slashed funds for better insulation and heating in low-income households.

“It’s a national scandal that rising gas prices and heat-leaking homes have left millions shivering – and thousands dying – in the cold.

“Ministers must end the fuel poverty crisis with a major drive to fix poorly-insulated homes and shift to clean British energy from water, wind and the sun.”

The UK level of fuel poverty is estimated based on 2010 data for England and Scotland and extrapolated estimates for Wales and Northern Ireland based on earlier years.