Fuel poor families see support cut, report
Published on 27 November 2012 11:30 AM
State support for families in England who cannot afford to heat their home has been cut by at least a quarter in the past few years, a report shows.
The research shows that by next year, cuts of around 26% will have been made since 2009 to the money available to families suffering fuel poverty.
Bigger cuts have also been made to money available for making the homes of people in fuel poverty more energy efficient, according to the Association for the Conservation of Energy.
Government money for measures such as installing better insulation in the home will have fallen by 44% for poorer people, the report found.
Cuts are hitting energy efficiency schemes
The cuts have been made despite the fact the best way for people to keep warm and still reduce their fuel bills is to make their houses more energy efficient.
Although many such schemes have been cut, much of the impact came as a result of the ditching of the Warm Front scheme which helped people implement energy efficiency measures, according to the study.
The association's report estimates the number of homes able to improve their fuel efficiency through having energy efficient measures installed will drop dramatically from 150,000 in 2009 to 100,000 by next year.
In 2009 just 3.8% of households in fuel poverty in England were given state support for such improvements and the rate will become even smaller, predicted to be cut to 2.6% by the end of this year.
The report says annual public funding for energy efficiency measures will be cut to just £2.7 billion in 2013, down from the £3.9 billion available in 2009. Nevertheless, only around a third of this money is given to poorer people, because the schemes have a wider net.
The Energy Bill Revolution
The report was commissioned by an alliance of around 100 businesses, consumer groups, trade unions and charities, known as the Energy Bill Revolution.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change disputes the figures in the report. It insists spending for alleviating fuel poverty will increase from £760 million in 2009 to £828 million in 2014-15, although its latter figure will be funded by energy customers who have been charged extra on their bills.
A spokesman for the department said: 'The coalition is committed to doing all that is reasonably practicable to end fuel poverty in England by 2016, and to helping people, especially low-income vulnerable households, heat their homes more affordably.'
Copyright Press Association 2012