UK’s new fuel poverty strategy ‘full of holes’

The UK Government has been criticised for not doing enough to help the fuel poor. It comes as DECC launched its new Fuel Poverty Strategy yesterday, which outlines the challenges […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK Government has been criticised for not doing enough to help the fuel poor.

It comes as DECC launched its new Fuel Poverty Strategy yesterday, which outlines the challenges and actions for the next 15 years.

It has set a target for “as many F and G rated homes as reasonably practicable” to be brought to Band E by the end of the next Parliament and for them to achieve a Band C energy efficiency standard by 2030.

More than 320,000 fuel poor homes in England live in properties rated below Band E.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Sophie Neuburg said: “Yet again the government is failing households struggling to pay their fuel bills. Its target to boost the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes by 2030 is too little, too late – and is largely meaningless because Ministers only have to do what’s ‘reasonably practicable’.

“This new Fuel Poverty Strategy is sub-standard and full of holes – just like too many UK homes.”

Fuel Poverty Action added the government is “not seriously committed” to tackling fuel poverty and cold homes.

A spokesperson Clare Welton said: “Band E by 2018 is pathetic- it will still leave millions of renters in cold and draughty homes for decades to come… The government needs to commit real money and policy time to the issue of fuel poverty, which this strategy simply doesn’t do.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners however welcomed the new strategy.

On the £3 million pot announced to allow doctors to prescribe energy efficient measures for fuel poor patients, Vice-Chair Dr Tim Ballard said: “The new funding for health-related pilot projects is especially needed and will help build the case for more investment to cut the cost of warmth and help reduce the burden of cold homes on the health service.”

Cold homes is said to cost the NHS around £1.3 billion a year as they worsen flu and colds and serious health conditions such as asthma and heart and lung problems.