Cold Comfort – Fuel Poverty and the Winter Fuel Payment
The government is failing on its Fuel Poverty target. The number of households spending more than 10% of income on energy has risen steadily since the launch of the Fuel Poverty strategy. The government’s own figures show that by 2007, the numbers of people in fuel poverty in the UK had risen to 4,000,000 from 2,500,000 in 2001. Even more worrying, they suggest that there may have been 6,500,000 by 2009 – and this despite spending of £20 billion.
This report calls for a more honest approach from government. We argue that if the government wishes to use the WFP funding to boost the incomes of older people, it should do so transparently through the pensions or benefits system. If, on the other hand, it is serious about helping people who struggle to heat their homes, the government should focus on improving domestic energy efficiency and effective approaches to tackling poverty.