In response to official Government figures published today showing that 3.5 million households in England were in fuel poverty in 2010, National Energy Action’s Chief Executive, Jenny Saunders, commented:
‘These figures appear to show some progress in reducing fuel poverty between 2009 and 2010 with that progress mainly attributed to rising household incomes. Since this statistical analysis was undertaken we have entered a period of profound economic austerity accompanied by continuing increases in domestic gas and electricity prices. NEA estimates that additional gas and electricity price increases in 2011 mean that more than 5 million households in England now face unaffordable energy costs.
‘Yet the Government response has been to effectively halve funding for schemes to improve heating and insulation standards in properties occupied by financially disadvantaged households, despite the fact that energy efficiency is the most rational long-term solution to fuel poverty. From next year, annual expenditure on these heating and insulation programmes will reduce from the 2010-2011 level of £1.1 billion to around £540 million.
Clearly this action raises serious doubts about the Government’s commitment to the eradication of fuel poverty in England by 2016, as required by the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000. This lack of commitment is further evidenced by the withdrawal of all Treasury funding for energy efficiency programmes from next year in contrast to the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which will continue to support fuel-poor households through their own Government-funded programmes.’
NEA is the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth. For further details visit http://www.nea.org.uk.
Fuel poverty is caused by a combination of low incomes, high energy prices and poor standards of heating and insulation. Many people, worried about rising fuel bills, ration their heating with detrimental effects on their physical and mental health, and every year, around 25,000 more people die over the winter months compared with the non-winter periods. The most vulnerable members of society are particularly at risk – pensioners, the long-term sick or disabled, and young children.
For further information contact Sarah Wright/Claire Henderson Communications Officers on 0191 269 2942 / 0191 269 2909, or out of hours Peter Smith, External Affairs Manager 07595780893
Senior Campaigns and Communications Officer
Level 6 (Elswick)
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 269 2942