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Fuel Poverty

Volume 494: debated on Friday 19 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of progress in eradicating fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010. (279106)

[holding answer 11 June 2009]: The aim of the UK Government and the devolved Administrations, remains the eradication of fuel poverty in vulnerable households, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as far as reasonably practicable by 2010, with the overall aim that as far as reasonably practicable no household in the UK should live in fuel poverty by 2016 (2018 in Wales).

There is a wide range of policies and programmes in place which contribute to tackling fuel poverty. This includes Warm Front, CERT and the Decent Homes programme primarily addressing the energy efficiency of households, Winter fuel and cold weather payments to increase household incomes. However, rising energy prices have made achieving our fuel poverty targets more difficult and the current mix of fuel poverty measures is unlikely to eradicate fuel poverty among the vulnerable by 2010.

Against this background, a review of our fuel poverty policies is under way which will be examining whether existing measures to tackle fuel poverty could be made more effective. It will also consider whether new policies should be introduced to help us make further progress towards our goals. The review is looking across all three drivers of fuel poverty, and particularly the key issue of how we can more effectively identify and target assistance at vulnerable households.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assistance is being provided by his Department for people who, due to age or illness, require fuel assistance for heating other than during winter months. (279107)

[holding answer 11 June 2009]: The Government have a wide range of policies and programmes in place which can help households to reduce their energy bills throughout the year. These include Warm Front, CERT and the Decent Homes programme primarily addressing the energy efficiency of households through provision of a range of insulation and heating measures.

The Government are also working with Ofgem and the energy suppliers to help the most vulnerable customers find the best tariff available for them.

Information to help households save energy is available through the Government's Act on CO2 advice line run by the Energy Saving Trust.