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Fuel Poverty: Winter 2023-24

Volume 748: debated on Tuesday 16 April 2024

2. What estimate she has made of the number of households that were in fuel poverty in winter 2023-24. (902274)

24. What estimate she has made of the number of households that were in fuel poverty in winter 2023-24. (902297)

As previously stated, fuel poverty is devolved. Statistics for England estimate that there were 3.17 million households in fuel poverty in 2023, over 1.5 million fewer than in 2010.

April’s new price cap will see 6 million households across the UK in fuel poverty and National Energy Action estimates this figure will include 8,800 households in North Tyneside alone. The Government promised their household upgrading scheme would help 100,000 households but in nine months it has helped fewer than 5,000 and only 15 in my constituency. Can the Minister account for the abysmal failure of the flagship policy?

I stand by the Government’s record of support on fuel poverty: we have helped with affordability and with insulation and energy efficiency. We have given unprecedented support to 350,000 households, who were kept out of fuel poverty at the energy peak in 2022.

Electricity standing charges for people in the north-east are 71.2p per day while those in the south pay 40.79p per day. Can the Minister explain why the people in the north-east, the area experiencing the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country, are paying 75% more than those in other regions simply for the privilege of being connected to the grid?

The hon. Gentleman makes a reasonable point on standing charges, which is one reason why we have urged Ofgem to gather information on them. We have had over 30,000 responses and will be looking at this in due course.

In the Office for National Statistics and House of Commons data, fuel poverty in England was 13.5% back in 1996. It rose to 22% by 2010 and, as has already been mentioned, it fell back to 13% in 2023. Does the Minister agree that that shows that Conservatives deliver energy policy with environmental and economic good sense and have done a lot better than the last Labour Government?

As I said, we are incredibly proud of our record on heading towards net zero and ensuring energy security so that never to have to go through the cost of living crisis that we have recently gone through.