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The impact on the fuel poor of the reduction in fuel poverty budgets in England

Government slashes support for fuel poor

The Government has significantly reduced the financial support it gives the fuel poor, according to a new report released today.

The ACE report is the first time the Government’s fuel poverty budget has been analysed in depth by experts outside Government. It finds that the money received by the fuel poor in England has been cut by 26% between 2009 and 2013, taking into account all the Government’s new policies.

It also finds that the budget for energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor in England has been cut by 44%. This has raised particular concern because energy efficiency improvements are considered the best long term solution to end fuel poverty. ACE estimates that the number of energy efficiency measures being installed in the homes of the fuel poor in England will fall from 150,000 in 2009 to 100,000 in 2013.

The report was commissioned by the Energy Bill Revolution campaign, the biggest fuel poverty alliance ever formed in the UK. It is made up of over 100 leading charities, consumer groups, businesses and unions calling for carbon tax revenue to be used to make the homes of the fuel poor super energy efficient.

The campaign calculates that there is enough carbon revenue to end fuel poverty and in time help make every UK home highly energy efficient. The Government will raise over £2 billion in carbon tax revenue in 2013 with consumers each paying an average of £25 on their electricity bill. By 2020 the Government will raise £4 billion in carbon tax with consumers paying an average of £54.

Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution alliance campaign said:

“The fuel poor face a triple whammy. The fuel poverty budget has been slashed, the entire cost of new low carbon power has been put on household energy bills whilst Chancellor Osborne has pocketed every penny of carbon tax. This is despite the fact there is enough carbon tax revenue to end fuel poverty forever. That is a toxic combination which will bring untold misery to millions of households across the UK.”

Jenny Holland, Head of Parliamentary Team at ACE said:

“Instead of tackling the blight of fuel poverty, the Government has spent far too long twiddling its thumbs: two and a half years reviewing how fuel poverty is defined while at the same time drastically eroding budgets to tackle the problem. The Government must now urgently recycle carbon tax to make the homes of the fuel poor highly energy efficient. No household should have to choose between heating and eating. It’s time to end this national scandal.”

ACE and EBR (2012 11) Reduced fuel poverty budgets in England briefing 

Notes to Editors:

[1] For a copy of the report ‘The impact on the fuel poor of the reduction in fuel poverty budgets in England’ go to: http://www.ukace.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/ACE-and-EBR-2012-11-Reduced-fuel-poverty-budgets-in-England-briefing.pdf or http://www.energybillrevolution.org/news/

[2] Key Findings of the ACE report are as follows:

The total budget likely to be reaching the fuel poor in England falls from £1.191 billion in 2009 to £879 million in 2013. This is a reduction of 26%.

Of the total budget reaching the fuel poor, the energy efficiency budget in England declines from £376 million in 2009 to £209 million in 2013, a reduction of 44%.

Of this total energy efficiency budget reaching the fuel poor, the number of households in England receiving energy efficiency measures declines from 150,000 households – already just 3.8% of fuel poor households – to 100,000 households, an even smaller 2.6% of households projected by DECC to be fuel poor in 2013. This is a reduction of 33% from a base that was already too low. One of the main reasons for this decline is the elimination of the Warm Front programme in 2013, the only centrally funded Government programme to make fuel poor homes more energy efficient.

[3] To find out more about the Energy Bill Revolution campaign, the biggest fuel poverty alliance ever formed in the UK, go to: www.energybillrevolution.org

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