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New Definition Will Cut Fuel Poverty Figures Says Government Committee

December 2, 2013

The government’s Environmental Audit Commission have said amendments to the Energy Bill will cut the number of people judged to be in fuel poverty by up to 1.2 million. Currently families are classed as being ?fuel poor? if they spend more than 10% of their available income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth. The new definition would mean that families are only in fuel poverty if they have ?above average fuel costs.? Commission Chair, Joan Walley MP, said, ?the government is shifting the goal-posts on fuel poverty so that official statistics record far fewer households as fuel-poor.? She has called on the coalition to abandon the changes but Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) officials are convinced that the move will produce a more consistent definition. “The changes to the fuel poverty definition helps to get a better understanding of the causes and depth of fuel poverty, and to target policies more effectively,? said a spokesman for DECC.

Last week pressure group Energy Bill Revolution released figures that show government spending on fuel poverty has decreased by 20% in real terms since 2009/10 despite the fact that excess winter deaths reached 31,000 last year. Spending on energy efficiency measures last winter decreased by 50% mainly due to the axing of the Warm Front programme.

You can download the Energy Bill Revolution Report ?Government Expenditure on Fuel Poverty? from http://www.energybillrevolution.org/resources/

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