Fewer UK families facing fuel poverty

The number of households in fuel poverty in the UK showed a “modest” fall, according to the Government. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published its annual report […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The number of households in fuel poverty in the UK showed a “modest” fall, according to the Government.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published its annual report on Fuel Poverty Statistics today, which revealed the number of UK homes struggling to pay their energy bills fell from 4.75 million in 2010 to 4.5 million a year later.

The number of fuel poor households in England also dropped to 3.2 million in 2011, from 3.5 million in 2010. Any household spending more than 10% of its income on fuel is believed to be in fuel poverty.

DECC suggests the reduction was due to rising incomes – particularly among lower income households at risk of fuel poverty – and reduced energy usage.

However, the “fuel poverty gap”, which measures the depth of fuel poverty, i.e. the difference between households being in or out of fuel poverty, rose by £22 million to £1.15 billion in 2011.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “I am very encouraged by this modest fall in the number of households living in fuel poverty. But there is absolutely no room for complacency. There is still an unacceptably high number of people living in cold, damp, unhealthy conditions.

“However after years of year on year growth in the number of fuel poor households we are starting to make progress but the Coalition Government is determined to do even more. While we can’t control volatile international energy prices, which always have the potential to undermine progress, it is clear that our determined focus on improving home energy efficiency is proving a highly effective weapon in this battle.”