Government looks at fuel poverty definition change to hit targets

Despite steady progress, the government has said “much more needs to be done” if fuel poverty targets are to be met.

On 22 July, it released a consultation on its fuel poverty strategy for England, proposing a series of updates, having pledged to review it regularly. In his ministerial forward, Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Chris Skidmore, who has been confirmed in post following Wednesday’s reshuffle stated that improving household energy efficiency was seen as the “best long-term solution” to addressing fuel poverty. As part of this, the government is proposing to retain its target to ensure as many fuel poor households are improved to a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by the end of 2030.

It is also proposing to update the way fuel poverty is measured. Under a new metric, 3.66mn homes would meet the criteria for being fuel poor, up from 2.55mn as is the case with the current definition. The government explained this was to reduce the “churn in and out” of fuel poverty that had been caused by the Low Income High Costs measure.

Other proposals included a new sustainability principle that would make sure policies contributing to the fuel poverty target complement other government priorities, such as the Clean Growth and Industrial Strategies.

Responses are due by 16 September.