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Fuel Poverty

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of (a) people and (b) households in fuel poverty in each year since 1995; and what Government target on fuel poverty applied in each such year. (128113)

Fuel poverty is a factor of three elements—a home’s energy efficiency, household income and the cost of fuel. As such, fuel poverty is measured by household and not by individual.

Fuel poverty figures were first calculated in 1996 and are based on information provided in the English House Condition Survey (EHCS). Fuel poverty figures in England from 1996 for each year a survey was completed are set out in the following table. The collation of the EHCS has a time lag so the latest available figures are for 2004.

Million

Number of households in fuel poverty in England

Number of vulnerable households in fuel poverty in England

1996

5.1

4.0

1998

3.4

2.8

2001

1.7

1.4

2002

1.4

1.2

2003

1.2

1.0

2004

1.2

1.0

A vulnerable fuel-poor household is defined as one containing an elderly person, a family with young children, a disabled person or someone suffering a long term illness.

The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 mandated the Government to produce a strategy and set targets to ensure that no household should live in fuel poverty. The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy, published in November 2001, sets out the Government’s targets for the eradication of fuel poverty in England:

to eradicate fuel poverty, as far as reasonably practicable, in vulnerable households by 2010

that no household will remain in fuel poverty, as far as reasonably practicable, by 2016

Similar targets exist in the devolved administrations.