Fuel poverty is the condition by which a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature.
It is caused by low income, high fuel prices, poor energy efficiency, unaffordable housing prices and poor quality private rental housing.
In England, the Low Income High Costs Indicator is used to determine fuel poverty. Under this, a household is considered fuel poor if;
- They have above average required fuel costs
- And were they to spend this amount, they would be left with a residual income which is below the poverty line.
The depth of fuel poverty is measured by the fuel poverty gap, which is a measure of the additional fuel costs a fuel poor household faces in order to be determined non-fuel poor.
The cold facts
- 3.66 million – The number of households in fuel poverty according to the latest definition
- 2.4 million – The number of fuel poor households in England under the old definition
- c.11,400 – Winter deaths caused by cold homes (NEA).
Cold man of Europe
- 14 / 16 – The UK’s ranking on fuel poverty in Western Europe
- 16 / 16 – The UK’s ranking in Western Europe for the proportion of people who cannot afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature
- £325– How much more a fuel poor household in England needs to pay to stay warm compared to non-fuel poor households
- £1,482– How much more a fuel poor household living in an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) G rated home in England needs to pay to stay warm compared to non-fuel poor households
- £543 – How much more a fuel poor household living in a property not connected to the gas grid needs to pay to stay warm compared to non-fuel poor households
Ill health and death
- Respiratory, cardiovascular and circulatory disease, accidental injury and poorer mental health – The impacts cold homes can have on our health (PHE)
- £3.6 million – How much fuel poverty costs the health service every day
- 32,000 – The average number of excess deaths experienced in the UK each year between December and March. More people die from cold homes than they do alcohol, Parkinson’s Disease or traffic accidents
- 3,200 – The number of UK excess winter deaths directly linked to the experience of fuel poverty
- 142,280 – The number of excess winter deaths experienced in England since 2011
Harm to children and workers
- In children, it can lead to developmental problems and poor performance at school (NCB).
- It can lead to people taking days off work (IPPR).
- 96% – The percentage of fuel poor homes that are poorly insulated
- 61 – The number of years the Government will miss its target of upgrading all fuel poor homes in England to a EPC Band C
- £1.2 billion – How much it will cost per year to meet the Government’s target of upgrading all fuel poor homes in England to an EPC rating of Band C by 2030
- £640 million – The amount Government has committed each year to make the coldest homes more energy efficient
- 1 – The average number of energy efficiency improvements installed per home under the Government’s flagship programme, the Energy Company Obligation
- 3 – The average number of additional energy efficiency improvements (e.g. new boiler, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation top-up) needed to make a fuel poor home energy efficient (EPC Band C)
- 35 – The number of years we have left to de-carbonise UK homes to help avoid dangerous climate change
- £100 billion – The amount of public funds the Chancellor allocated to infrastructure projects over the next 5 years
- £0 – The amount of infrastructure funds allocated to fix the UK’s energy inefficiency housing stock
- £8.7 billion – The economic return from insulating the UK’s housing stock
- 26% – The reduction in gas imports that could be achieved if all homes were made energy efficient (at least Band C)