The Department's fuel poverty budget for the current spending round (2008-11) was £400 million in 2008-09, £374 million in the current year and £200 million in 2010-11. The fuel poverty budget beyond 2010-11 will be subject to the normal Government spending review process.
Winter Fuel Payments make an important contribution to tackling fuel poverty and are responsible for taking around 100,000 households out of fuel poverty in England in 2006 (and around 200,000 in the UK as a whole).
For the purposes of the Government's fuel poverty statistics, and consistency with other statistics. Winter Fuel Payments are classified as an addition to recipients' incomes. However, while it remains appropriate to consider Winter Fuel Payments in this way for statistical purposes, it is also useful to consider what effect they would have if used to meet energy bills directly.
Taking this approach, around 600,000 fewer households in England (and around 1.1 million fewer households in the UK as a whole) are shown to need to spend more that 10 per cent. of their income in order to meet the remaining costs of heating their home adequately.
Figures for the number of households in fuel poverty in England are produced from analysis of the English House Condition Survey. Data at the rural/urban level are only available from 2003 onwards. The definitions of urban and rural populations were modified between 2004 and 2005 meaning there will be some discontinuity in the series shown in the following table:
2003 2004 2005 2006 Urban 893 939 1,095 1,768 Rural 329 297 434 664 Total 1,222 1,236 1,529 2,432
The most recently available sub-regional split of fuel poverty relates to 2003 and shows that in North West Leicestershire, there were around 2,300 fuel poor households. In the county of Leicestershire in the same period, there were around 15,100 fuel poor households.
More recent figures for the East Midlands and England are available. These show that in 2006, there were around 236,000 fuel poor households in the East Midlands and around 2.4 million fuel poor households living in England.