Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru responds to new fuel poverty figures released by the Welsh Government

Released: 15 July 2016

The Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru has today given a cautious welcome to the publication of new projections showing the number of households in fuel poverty in Wales is decreasing.

The group has previously called on the Welsh Government to improve the data available on fuel poverty.  Coalition co-chair and NEA Cymru Director, Carole Morgan-Jones, said the group would be looking closely at the report.

Ms Morgan-Jones said: “Whilst the estimated decrease in fuel poverty is welcome news, that still leaves almost 1 in 4 households struggling to afford to maintain a warm home.  The Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru will be looking closely at the way these estimates have been made.  However, what we are seeing and hearing on the ground in our communities does not tally with the improved picture portrayed.  Other reports show that thousands of households in Wales are struggling to pay their energy bills and worryingly the number of customers on pre-payment meters continues to increase, with the majority of these meters being installed to manage debt.

It is also worrying that the Welsh Government appears to be moving away from their objective to end fuel poverty for all households by 2018. Before the Assembly Elections the Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru called for more investment in energy efficiency programmes. We want to renew this call as the only long-term sustainable way to mitigate the effects of any future increase in energy bills.”

The Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru, chaired by NEA Cymru and Citizens Advice Cymru, is an alliance of charities and other organisations that campaign to end the misery and suffering caused by cold homes. Coalition member organisations include: NEA Cymru, Citizens Advice Cymru, Community Housing Cymru, Warm Wales, Friends of the Earth, Age Cymru, Children in Wales, Cynnal Cymru, and the North Wales Energy Advice Centre.

The Coalition has outlined 5 key priorities for action which they want the Welsh Government to implement.  These are:

  • To set a new fuel poverty target to improve homes to a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC C, backed up with the data we need to drive an ambitious new strategy
  • To invest in a well-resourced, well-targeted energy efficiency programme for fuel poor households in Wales as an infrastructure priority
  • To save lives by implementing the NICE guidelines on tackling excess winter deaths
  • To protect vulnerable households with a crisis fund for emergency heating when their health is at risk
  • To fund independent advice services to support people in fuel poverty

Notes to editors:

  1. For further information please contact Carole Morgan-Jones, Director, NEA Cymru, tel 02920 229322 or email carole.morgan-jones@nea.org.uk
  2. NEA is the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth. For further details visit http://www.nea.org.uk.
  3. Fuel poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort.
  4. Fuel poverty results from a combination of factors: low household income; unaffordable energy prices; and inadequate heating and insulation standards. The consequences of fuel poverty range from psychological distress, social isolation and physical discomfort to causing or exacerbating serious illness and, in the most extreme cases, to premature death.
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