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Fuel poverty

Published Tuesday, December 11, 2018

This pack has been produced ahead of the general debate on Tuesday 11 December 2018 on fuel poverty. It covers fuel poverty statistics and policy for the regions of the UK.

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Fuel poverty is a devolved policy area, and is defined and measured differently in different parts of the UK. In general, fuel poverty relates to households that have to spend a high proportion of their household income to keep their home at a reasonable temeprature. Fuel poverty is affected by three key factors: a household’s income, their fuel costs, and their energy consumption (which in turn can be affected by the energy-efficiency of the household’s dwelling).

In 2016 an estimated 2.55 million households in England were defined as fuel poor. This was 11.1% of households. Over the past decade fuel poverty rates have remained in the 10‑12% range, increasing to a peak of 11.9% in 2009 before falling to 10.5% in 2013 and 2014 before rising again in 2016.[1]

As the other nations all use different definitions and ways of modelling, the rates are not directly comparable.

In Scotland in 2017, 613,000 households were estimated to be in fuel poverty. This was 24.9% of households. The rate has fallen from 34.9% in 2014 when a new modelling method was introduced.[2]

In Wales 291,000 households were projected to be in fuel poverty under their 10% measure in 2016. This was 23% of households. The latest rate is below the 28-30% range projected for 2012, 2013 and 2014.[3]

160,000 households were estimated to be in fuel poverty in Northern Ireland in 2016; 22% of households. Rates were 34% in 2006, increasing to 44% in 2009, before falling slightly to 42% in 2011. The latest rate is almost half this level.[4]


[1]     Annual fuel poverty statistics report: 2018, DBEIS

[2]     Scottish house condition survey: 2017 key findings

[3]     The Production of Estimated Levels of Fuel Poverty in Wales: 2012-2016

[4]     2016 Northern Ireland House Condition Survey: main report

Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0276

Authors: Suzanna Hinson; Nikki Sutherland; Paul Bolton; Steven Kennedy

Topics: Consumers, Electricity, Energy conservation, Fuel poverty, Incomes and poverty, Utilities

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