The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have opened a consultation on the fuel poverty strategy for England. This will assess the implementation of the 2015 strategy and seek views on proposals for an updated fuel poverty strategy. The full consultation document is available here.
The Government will retain the fuel poverty target and milestones set out in the 2015 strategy, which aims to bring as many fuel poor homes as reasonably practicable up to a Band C by 2030, Band D by 2025 and Band E by 2020.
However, BEIS propose to change the way fuel poverty is measured (currently ‘Low Income High Cost’) by implementing a ‘Low Income Low Energy Efficiency’ (LILLE) metric. Under this definition, households will be deemed fuel poor if their disposable income (after housing and energy costs) is below the poverty line and they live in a property with an energy efficiency rating of Band D or lower. The LILEE measure would increase the number of households considered fuel poor by approximately 1 million, bringing the total number of fuel poor households in England up to over 3.6 million.
Also included in the document, is an update to the vulnerability principle to clarify those most at risk to the impacts deriving from cold homes. This may include better aligning vulnerability with that outlined in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on cold-related ill health. BEIS also propose adding a new principle to the strategy which would ensure policies relating to fuel poverty complement other Government priorities including the Clean Growth Strategy.
A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition (EFPC) said:
“The UK Government’s consultation on updating its fuel poverty strategy suggests that there are over 1 million more households in fuel poverty than previously recognised. 3.7 million households are now reckoned to live in cold, inadequately heated and insulated homes. The EFPC urges the UK Government to invest £1bn of public funds in a programme to bring it back on track towards meeting its statutory fuel poverty target. This is a key recommendation of the Government’s advisory group, the Committee for Fuel Poverty“.
EFPC member National Energy Action’s initial response to the consultation can be read here.