Tuesday, 14 July 2009 12:00 AM
A report launched today by The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG) has highlighted the need for immediate and continued government action after a devastating 5 year period for fuel poverty.
It is estimated that over 3.75m households in England are living with the misery of fuel poverty, a figure backed by leading fuel poverty charity NEA, compared to 1.2 million in 2004. The rise is due to a combination of poor levels of energy efficiency, high energy prices and inadequate income. Fuel poverty is defined as when a household is required to spend more than ten per cent of its income on total fuel use.
The report concludes that although energy prices have fallen by up to 10% in 2009 the general long-term trend will see them increase with an expected further 1.7 million households falling into fuel poverty by 2022 due to increased measures on carbon budgets alone. The overall figure is expected to rise much higher.
The FPAG report, its seventh such document, states the only way this upward trend can be halted is by addressing the affordability of energy, the combining and roll out of schemes and measures addressing energy efficiency, and the introduction of new technologies relieving hard to treat homes of their dependency on expensive solid fuels like wood and coal.
Leading fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) urged the Government to follow the recommendations made by FPAG.
Jenny Saunders NEA Chief Executive said: "We strongly endorse FPAG's recommendations. NEA has petitioned for a fair social tariff for vulnerable consumers, a new injection of funding for energy efficiency schemes and an extension of the winter fuel payment to other vulnerable groups.
"The problem of fuel poverty is getting worse and needs a three-pronged attack through better energy efficiency of housing stock; through greater financial support for low-income households and through a fair (social) tariff for vulnerable consumers.
"We believe the Government must commit to long-term and permanent solutions. Fuel poverty won't be ended by piecemeal measures and token gestures."