Fuel poverty statistics

Fuel poverty in the UK

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates that fuel poverty affects 2.5 million households in England (2015) using the new Low Income High Costs definition. Governments in the devolved nations have retained the traditional ten percent definition, which means a household is deemed to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of household income on fuel.  The rate for each nation is shown below. For methodological reasons the rates across the UK cannot be summed, but it is estimated by NEA that fuel poverty affects over 4 million UK households – roughly 15.% of all households.

10% definition Low income, high cost
No. of FP households % of FP households No. of FP households % of FP households
England(1) 2,615,000 11.6% 2,502,000 11%
Scotland(2) 845,000 35% * *
Wales(3) 291,000 23% 132,000 10%
Northern Ireland (4) 294,000 42% * *
  1. Figures relate to 2015, published by BEIS June 2017
  2. Figures relate to 2014, published by the Scottish Government December 2015
  3. Figures are projected for 2016, published by the Welsh Government 2016
  4. Figures related to 2011, published by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive 2014

(*) Not applicable
Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy annual fuel poverty statistics, 2017. National Statistics.

Please visit our Wales and Northern Ireland pages for more information on the UK situation.


Fuel poverty in England

In 2015, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.5 million, representing approximately 11% of all English households. This is an increase from 2.38 million households (10.6%) in 2014 (a change of around 0.4 per cent).

Fuel poverty is measured in England using the low income-high cost definition, which states that a household is in fuel poverty if

  • Their income is below the poverty line (taking into account energy costs) and;
  • Their energy costs are higher than is typical for their household type

The average fuel poverty gap (the amount needed to meet the fuel poverty threshold), fell by 5.6% per cent between 2014 (£371) and 2015 (£353). The aggregate fuel poverty gap across all fuel poor households also reduced between 2013-2015, from £890 million to £884 million (0.5% in real terms).

The regional breakdown is as follows:

Region % of households in FP* No. of FP households (000s) % of total FP in region Aggregate fuel poverty gap (£m) Average fuel poverty gap (£)
North East 13.3 152 6.1 47 308
South West 11.4 270 10.8 124 459
West Midlands 13.5 316 12.6 109 344
Yorkshire & the Humber 12.4 279 11.1 85 306
London 10.1 335 13.4 111 333
North West 11.8 362 14.5 113 312
East Midlands 12.7 247 9.91 87 351
East 7.8 195 7.8 63 322
South East 9.4 346 13.8 145 419
All households 11 2,502 100 884 353

Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy fuel poverty statistics, detailed table 2017, England. National Statistics


Who is in fuel poverty?

Fuel poverty is caused by low incomes, high energy prices and energy inefficient housing.

19.7% of all households living in properties with the lowest energy ratings (E, F or G) are fuel poor – they make up 36.9% of all fuel-poor households. This is compared to only 3% of households that live in properties with the highest energy ratings (A, B or C) – they make up just 7.8% of all fuel-poor households.*

21.3% of households in the private rented sector are fuel poor – they make up 37.6% of all fuel-poor households.

79.1% of households in fuel poverty are classed as vulnerable, that is one containing children, the elderly, or someone with a long-term illness or disability.*

* Source: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy fuel poverty statistics, detailed table 2017, England. National Statistics

Published on 28-10-2015
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