UK Government figures show 4.5m households unable to adequately heat their homes across UK

28 May 2015

National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS) are national charities working to end fuel poverty and the illness caused by cold homes across the UK.

The two organisations have provided the statement below in response to the release today of the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Annual Fuel Poverty report which provides the latest indication from the UK Government of fuel poverty levels within the nations and across the UK.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action responded by saying:

We know the cost and suffering caused by fuel poverty is grave and likely to increase in the future without more adequate national and UK wide responses. This analysis is supported by NEA’s own research which shows preventable deaths caused by cold homes in the last five years alone has resulted in 41,000 needless deaths across the UK. NEA also estimates that national health services will need to spend billions treating cold-related morbidity, in excess of £22bn in England and Wales alone over a 15 year period”.

Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland observed:

The only sustainable way to tackle fuel poverty, to lower customer bills and to reduce the demand for energy is to provide energy efficiency measures for homes.This will make them warmer, healthier and more affordable places to live in.”

The two organisations have provided the statements in advance of a joint publication released next week [01/06/15] in the UK Parliament. The UK Fuel Poverty Monitor 2014-15 (available atwww.nea.org.uk/monitor2015 from the afternoon of 1 June), produced with support from Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland investigates fuel poverty in the UK and its four nations and the policies in place to tackle it.

The report will highlight that whilst policy makers across the four nations recognise the importance of tackling fuel poverty and are acting to join up their strategies with other national priorities, the multiple benefits of ending fuel poverty will not be unlocked if the required investment in domestic energy efficiency is not sufficient to meet statutory targets.

Notes to the editor

  1. For press enquiries please contact Peter Smith, External Affairs Manager at NEA, 07595780893 or email peter.smith@nea.org.uk.
  2. For more information about National Energy Action (NEA) visit: http://www.nea.org.uk/.For more information about Energy Action Scotland (EAS) visit: http://www.eas.org.uk/default.php
  3. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)’s Fuel Poverty report can be found here. The time lag in publication of official fuel poverty statistics, generally around two years between collection and publication, means that these estimates are not current are for 2013.
  4. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 requires the Scottish Government to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland, as far as is practicable, by November 2016. The Energy Act 2013 replaced the duty on the UK Government to eradicate fuel poverty in England by 2016 with a new duty to ensure that as many fuel poor homes ‘as is reasonably practicable’ achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030. Currently, less than 5 per cent of fuel poor households in England have an energy efficiency rating of Band C and above and current annual spending on energy efficiency improvements in fuel poor homes in England amounts to less than half the required investment.
  5. Following previous collaborations with Consumer Focus and Consumer Futures, this year, the UK Fuel Poverty Monitor is produced with support from Citizens Advice. The report will be launched in the UK Parliament on the 1 June 2015.The report highlights that over the term of the UK Parliament (5 years) domestic energy consumers will contribute over £14 billion to the Treasury (£11.82bn in England, £1.33bn in Scotland, £690m in Wales and £190m in Northern Ireland) through VAT and revenue generated from carbon taxes. With the UK Treasury expected to receive this significant windfall, the report concludes that the new UK Government must support the use of these funds (or alternative public infrastructure funds) to adequately resource initiatives that make homes warmer and healthier and in turn encourage economic growth. The report also makes recommendations on other issues that must be addressed at a national level within the four nations.
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