Fuel Poverty Statistics

Fuel poverty in the UK

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates that fuel poverty affects 2.55 million households in England (2016) 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 3.5 million UK households – roughly 12.9% 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) 2,361,400 10.4% 2,551,000 11.1%
Scotland(3) 649,000 26.5% * *
Wales(4) 291,000 23% 132,000 10%
Northern Ireland (5) 159,530 21.5% * *
  1. Figures relate to 2016, published by BEIS June 2018
  2. Figures relate 2015, English Housing Survey published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, Local Government, 2017
  3. Figures relate to 2016, published by the Scottish Government December 2017
  4. Figures are projected for 2016, published by the Welsh Government 2016
  5. Figures related to 2016, published by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive October 2017

(*) 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 2016, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.55 million, representing approximately 11.1% of all English households. This is an increase from 2.50 million households (11.0%) in 2015 (an increase of 2%).

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 4.4% between 2015 (£341) and 2016 (£326). The aggregate fuel poverty gap (the total for all fuel poor households also reduced between 2015 and2016, from £847 million to £832 million (a 1.7% reduction).

The regional breakdown for England 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 13.8 159 6.2 54 338
South West 10.2 244 9.6 95 391
West Midlands 13.7 327 12.8 109 332
Yorkshire & the Humber 12.1 275 10.8 69 252
London 10.0 341 13.4 102 298
North West 12.8 399 15.7 107 268
East Midlands 11.7 229 9.0 80 349
East 9.4 239 9.4 67 278
South East 9.0 337 13.2 150 447
All households 11.1 2,551 100 832 326

Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (2018) 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.

Who is in fuel poverty?*

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

  • 21.5% of all households living in properties with the lowest energy ratings (E, F or G) are fuel poor – they make up 39.7% of all fuel-poor households. This is compared to only 2.7% of households that live in properties with the highest energy ratings (A, B or C) – they make up just 7.2% of all fuel-poor households.
  • 19.4% of households in the private rented sector are fuel poor – they make up 35.4% of all fuel-poor households. Among social tenants 13.8% of households are fuel poor, while 7.7% of owner occupiers are fuel poor.
  • 82.1% of all fuel-poor households are considered vulnerable, that is one containing children, the elderly, or someone with a long-term illness or disability.
  • The family types with the highest rates of fuel poverty are: lone parents (26.4%); multi-person households (15.2%); and couples with dependent children (14.7%).
  • Only 30.1% of all fuel-poor households are eligible for the government’s leading fuel poverty programme ECO Affordable Warmth (ECO-AW), while only 30.2% of all ECO-AW eligible households are fuel poor (as of 2016).

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

Published on 25-09-2018
Menu Title