Social policy expert to lead fuel poverty review

The government has today appointed a social policy expert to lead an independent review of the fuel poverty target and definition. Professor John Hills of the London School of Economics […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The government has today appointed a social policy expert to lead an independent review of the fuel poverty target and definition.

Professor John Hills of the London School of Economics has been hired by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to lead a drive to ensure “people, especially the vulnerable, heat their homes more affordably”.

A household is currently classed as being in ‘fuel poverty’ if it would need to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to keep their home warm enough.

The review will look at fuel poverty from first principles, what causes it, its effects, and how best to measure it.If appropriate based on initial findings, it will identify and consult on options for alternative definitions and associated forms of target.

Mr Huhne said: “The review will analyse how we define and measure fuel poverty from an independent perspective.Professor John Hills will bring insight, authority and understanding to the role of the independent reviewer. I have asked him to report back to me with his final findings early next year.”

Professor Hills said: “Many households have been under pressure from their heating bills this winter, some severely so because of their particular needs or difficulties in keeping their homes warm.

“It is crucial that we measure the scale of the problem and trends in it accurately.I am looking forward to reviewing the evidence on the underlying issues that lead to fuel poverty and on how well the current measure reflects the problems involved and the effectiveness of policies to counter it”.