- The charity National Energy Action (NEA) is warning that the UK Government could miss its legal fuel poverty commitments in England by over 150 years
- New figures also reveal across the whole of the UK there are over 1.8 million fuel poor households who are currently living in the most expensive to heat homes
- NEA says unless they are provided with further support, they will continue to be hit hardest by the current energy crisis
National Energy Action warns that, based on current delivery rates of home energy efficiency measures, the UK Government could miss its legal target to improve all fuel-poor homes in England to a reasonable standard by over 150 years. They also claim a sub-target for 2025 – to help the UK Government stay on track for its final target – could be missed by over 20 years. Across the whole of the UK, there are over 1.8 million fuel poor households who are currently living in the most expensive to heat homes.
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of National Energy Action, comments:
“The UK has some of the oldest and least efficient homes in Europe. They are more difficult and more expensive to heat, and they lose their heat faster. Disproportionately, the poorest households live in the worst of these homes, exposed to higher energy costs and the terrible consequences for health and wellbeing.
“Despite legal commitments to ensure all fuel poor homes are brought up to a reasonable standard of efficiency in England by the end of this decade, based on current levels of ‘progress’, our latest analysis shows it would take more than 150 years to meet these legal requirements. Even the less ambitious sub-target to 2025 will currently be missed by over 20 years.
“Even with spiralling energy costs and recent announcements by the UK Government, we have not seen anywhere near the step change needed to consign cold, damp unhealthy homes to history
The charity says that across the whole of the UK there are currently over 1.8 million low-income households who are living in the least inefficient, most expensive to heat homes, who are feeling the worst impacts of the energy crisis. The charity says that the current situation will continue to get worse early next year if they are not provided with more help to heat their homes.
Adam Scorer adds:
“For fuel-poor households, in the least efficient, expensive to heat homes, this will get worse when the Government raises the limit of the Energy Price Guarantee. They are not ‘typical’ households with ‘average’ bills. They would need to pay around £4,000-£5,000 per year just to stay warm.
“This winter, we will have an epidemic of unheated homes causing ill-health and avoidable, death. That will continue until we tackle the worst properties and give the most vulnerable households some hope for the future.”
Notes to editors
- National Energy Action (NEA) is the national fuel poverty charity which works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure everyone can live in a warm and safe home. If this story goes online, please credit www.nea.org.uk/fpad or www.nea.org.uk/energyhelp. And include @NEA_UKCharity on Twitter.
- This Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, National Energy Action is urging people to share their resources and figures on Twitter with the hashtag #FuelPovertyAwarenessDay to show how changes to the Government’s support will affect the most vulnerable. For assets go to www.nea.org.uk/fpad. The charity is also asking people to write to their MP. You can find a template letter at https://www.nea.org.uk/energy-crisis/contact-your-mp and if you want to know the fuel poverty rate in your area, please go to https://www.nea.org.uk/fuel-poverty-map. They are also asking any charities or organisations working with vulnerable groups to raise awareness with MPs and the public about the events they are holding. For people struggling to stay warm and safe, please go to www.nea.org.uk/energyhelp. The hashtag is #FuelPovertyAwarenessDay.
- The UK Government committed to the legal statutory fuel poverty target in December 2014, binding successive Governments to ensure that as many fuel poor homes ‘as is reasonably practicable’ achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Energy Performance Certificate of band C by 2030. Band C is roughly the energy efficiency equivalent of a modern home. The UK Government reports annually on progress, albeit with a two-year lag, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics#2019-statistics. The latest data in February highlights that over 3 million households in England in fuel poverty are still living homes below band C and the current rate of progress is only delivering c.18,000 homes up to the standard a year.
- Since the Government produced their latest fuel poverty strategy for England, energy bills will have more than doubled in 18 months. In October 2021, the average annual energy bill was £1,277, by April 2023 it will be £3,000 and if you live in a larger than average household, have an energy inefficient home or have high usage perhaps because of medical equipment then you will far pay more.