Today the Welsh Government has published a consultation on plans to tackle fuel poverty in Wales. National Energy Action (NEA) Cymru welcomes the opportunity to make sure this is the strongest possible response to the misery of cold homes in Wales.
Previous statutory targets have been missed. NEA Cymru wants new fuel poverty targets that are ambitious and where progress is regularly monitored between now and 2035.
Ben Saltmarsh, Head of NEA Cymru, comments:
“This is a critical time. People of all ages in Wales are struggling in cold, damp homes, rationing energy use and facing rising debt. Without a serious, ambitious plan, fuel poverty will continue to be a devastating problem in Wales, ruining and shortening too many lives.
“Clear targets and milestones are vital to ensure steady progress. Currently, interim milestones are missing and this needs to be addressed. The consultation is a good chance to strengthen the plan and understand how much of a difference it is actually making to at least one in ten people in Wales who cannot afford a warm and healthy home.”
NEA Cymru has set out a short paper highlighting the key commitments the charity would like to see reflected in the final plan. It hopes to work with a range of key stakeholders to help enhance the plan during the consultation to ensure it helps those most in need.
Notes to Editors
- For further information or to arrange an interview with Ben Saltmarsh, Head of NEA Cymru, please contact Michael Potter/07595410756
- National Energy Action (NEA) works across Wales, England and Northern Ireland to ensure that everyone in the UK can afford to live in a warm, dry home. To achieve this, it aims to improve access to energy and debt advice, provide training, support energy efficiency policies, local projects and co-ordinate other related services which can help change lives.
- An estimated 12% of households (i.e. 155,000 households) were living in fuel poverty in Wales in 2018, according to most recent estimates. For more information, please see ‘Fuel poverty estimates for Wales, 2018’, published in May 2019 and updated on 13 December 2019.
- A household is regarded as being in fuel poverty if they are unable to keep their home warm at a reasonable cost. In Wales, this is estimated through measuring whether a household needs to spend more than 10% of their income to achieve a satisfactory heating regime. Any household needing to spend more than 20% is defined as being in severe fuel poverty. Vulnerable households are defined as those with a person aged 60 years or over, a child or young person under the age of 16 years and/or a person who is disabled or has a long-term limiting condition.
- In its ‘Fuel Poverty Commitment for Wales’ in 2003 and ‘Fuel Poverty Strategy 2010’, the Welsh Government committed to eradicate fuel poverty, as far as reasonably practical: for vulnerable households by 2010; for people living in social housing by 2012; and for everyone in Wales by 2018.
- NEA Cymru set out a short paper highlighting the key commitments the charity would like to see reflected in the final fuel poverty plan for Wales. This can be found here.
- The latest UK Fuel Poverty Monitor was published in September 2020. This annual investigative report on fuel poverty in the UK and within each of the four nations is published by National Energy Action and Energy Action Scotland. It assesses and reviews policies which are either aimed at or affect the main drivers of fuel poverty, namely: the energy efficiency of domestic dwellings, household incomes, and the cost of energy. This year the Monitor focussed on the impacts of COVID-19, conducting research with 73 unique organisations across the energy industry. It found that across Great Britain, three quarters of frontline organisations are concerned that there is a high risk that fuel debt will increase this winter as a direct result of the pandemic, while 98% believe that there is a moderate or high risk of more households cutting back on their energy use due to being forced to spend more time at home during lockdown periods.