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Fuel Poverty

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the Government’s targets are for reducing fuel poverty; what changes have been made to these targets since October 2008; what discussions he has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) other Ministers on this issue since October 2008; what recent representations he has received on fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement. (245082)

The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 requires the Government to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, persons do not live in fuel poverty. This Act (and the Fuel Poverty Strategy published under the Act) sets a target date of 2010 for the eradication of fuel poverty, so far as reasonably practicable, for vulnerable households, and 2016 for all households.

These targets were set when the strategy was first published in November 2001. These targets have not been amended since that date.

In October of this year, Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged brought a judicial review action against the Secretary of State alleging that he was failing to fulfil his statutory duties under the Act. The High Court dismissed this application. However, this decision is being appealed by Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged. The Secretary of State has received a skeleton argument from Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged which sets out the arguments in support of their appeal.

Ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have regular discussions with colleagues in other Departments with responsibility for aspects of fuel poverty policy including those in HM Treasury.