2.3 million households in England are living in fuel poverty, new report suggests
Around 2.3 million households in England are currently living in fuel poverty, although over 1 million households who cannot afford to heat their home to a comfortable level are in work, a recent paper published by Policy Exchange has been able to reveal.
The think tank’s latest report suggests that 10% of all households in England are in fuel poverty – but this rises to 19% of households living in private rented accommodation.
Half of all fuel poor households (49%) in England are in work – or just over 1.1 million households. Furthermore, the report also found that households in the most energy inefficient properties would have to spend up to £1,700 extra a year to heat their homes to a suitable level (between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius).
The problem is most severe in older, detached properties, particularly those in rural areas off the gas grid. Despite some recent improvement, the UK’s housing stock remains woefully inefficient compared to other European countries.
The report highlights flaws with the current fuel poverty strategy. The government target is to move all fuel poor homes in England to a ‘Band C’ energy efficiency rating by 2030, at an estimated cost of £1.2billion a year. However, the government is spending less than half of what is required (£490million a year) leading to a £700million per year funding gap.
Energy efficiency subsidies should be more focused on fuel poor households. At present, only 33% of fuel poverty funding actually benefits the fuel poor. Refocusing the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme on fuel poor households would raise £375million a year to allocate to fuel poor households.
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