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UK: Energy and Climate Committee presents report on fuel poverty

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The Government is going to miss its target to end fuel poverty amongst vulnerable households in England in 2010, according to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, which today launches its report on Fuel Poverty. The target to end fuel poverty for all households in England by 2016 also looks difficult to hit, despite the efforts made by the Government.
The Committee's report is a stocktake of performance in tackling fuel poverty and sets out areas of concern which the Committee want to see addressed in the new Parliament.  Paddy Tipping MP, Acting Chair of the Committee, said "one of the reasons tackling fuel poverty is so difficult, is that the Government does not have a clear idea about who the fuel poor are.  Because it does not have that information, it has to use age and receipt of benefits as proxies for fuel poverty, and that means that some people who are fuel poor do not get help, while others who are not in fuel poverty receive assistance.  The Government has got to get better information; share that information more intelligently; and focus its help towards those who really need it".
Amongst its recommendations, the Committee calls for:
  • A 'road map' to be drawn up, setting out how fuel poverty is to be tackled in greater detail;
  • The Government to consider whether a database of domestic energy efficiency should be set up;
  • Sharpening the focus of the Warm Front scheme so that it helps those most in need;
  • The Government to act speedily to bring forward plans for more data-sharing, so that fuel poverty can be tackled more effectively;
  • The Government to look to see how people with cancer and other serious medical conditions could benefit from social price support;
  • An urgent review of the market for fuels bought by people who are not connected to the mains gas grid.
Copies of the report will be available on at the website below on the day of publication (30 March 2010):