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Govt’ calls for new definition of ‘fuel poverty’

DECC’s new proposal aims to protect society’s most vulnerable from the effects of fuel poverty

Ed Davey‘Fuel Poverty: A framework for future action’ is based on the final report of the independent Hills Review published in March 2012. Based on research conducted by Professor Sir John Hills, the publication highlights the long-term and structural nature of fuel poverty and calls for an on-going approach to tackling the issue.

The new proposal suggests a focus on the lowest income households, living in the ‘worst’ homes. An approach which Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey says is in line with the government’s energy saving and decarbonisation objectives within the housing sector.

New objectives

In a statement on the new framework, Davey said: “We are proposing amending the statutory framework underpinning fuel poverty. The existing fuel poverty target, contained in the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000, has the eradication of fuel poverty as its end goal. This is the wrong type of target to focus on given the nature of the problem. Nor is such an approach compatible with the definition we are adopting. We are therefore proposing a new target that focuses on improving the energy efficiency of the homes of the fuel poor.

“I believe there is real merit in giving a strong degree of statutory backing to a fuel poverty target and our proposals reflect this. On balance we believe the best way to do this is through secondary legislation. This is reflected in amendments the Government has tabled to the Energy Bill currently before Parliament.”

More details regarding completion dates, numbers and the precise form of the framework will be put forward if the proposal is approved by Parliament.

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