New policies will cut grants and benefits for those in fuel poverty by 26% between 2009 and 2013, acccording to a new report commissioned by the Energy Bill Revolution campaign.
However, the report found that the budget for energy efficiency had in fact fallen by 44%.
Improvements to energy efficiency have been described as the best weapon against rising energy costs, but the report’s authors “estimate that the number of fuel poor households receiving energy efficiency measures in England will fall from 150,000 in 2009 to 100,000 in 2013.”
The news follows recent research which that the recent energy price hikes will force an extra 314,000 into fuel poverty.
What should be done?
The report calculates that using the carbon tax revenue would end fuel poverty and help make every UK home more energy efficient. There is a levy of around £25 on the average electricity bill, from which the government will raise £2 billion in 2013 alone, rising to £54 by 2020, raising £4 billion.
The Energy Bill Revolution campaign, the biggest fuel poverty alliance ever formed in the UK, is made up of over 100 charities, consumer groups, businesses and unions calling for carbon tax revenue to be used to improve the energy efficiency of fuel poor homes.
Fuel poverty is when a household spends 10% of its income on fuel for heating.
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 consumer 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, the authors of the report, 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.”
314,000 more in fuel poverty – The recent energy price rises have been unwelcome news for many, but will also force hundred of thousands of households into fuel poverty.