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Professor John Hills Publishes Fuel Poverty Review
17th March 2012
Professor John Hills has published his independent report advising the government how it can best tackle the problem of fuel poverty. The latest official fuel poverty figures show 4m households in England in fuel poverty, compared to 1.2m in 2004.
Professor John Hills of the London School of Economics started his research in March last year looking at the definition of fuel poverty, targets, and the effectiveness of different policy interventions.
An interim report was published in October last year, setting out initial thoughts and the final set of recommendations are published today.
- Professor Hills is clear that fuel poverty is currently measured in a way that is both flawed and unhelpful;
- Professor Hills has proposed a new way to define fuel poverty, separating the extent of the issue (the number of people affected) from its depth (how badly people are affected);
- Professor Hills also shows how the impact of Government policies can be assessed against this new proposed definition, showing the positive impact current Government policies are having on tackling fuel poverty.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said, "Fuel poverty is a serious national problem and this government remains committed to doing all it can to tackle it and make sure that the help available reaches those who need it most.
"We were right to commission this independent review because we want to make our policies as effective as possible, and improving fuel poverty measurement is a key part of this. I am grateful to Professor Hills and his team for the quality of their work, we will now study the report in detail ahead of consulting on an alternative definition for fuel poverty in the summer."
Government claims to be already tackling fuel poverty through a range of different schemes. Assistance with heating and insulation measures is currently provided through policies like Warm Front and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, which it is claimed help to keep homes warmer and cosier through the year. There is also direct support with energy bills for low income and vulnerable households through the Warm Home Discount scheme.
In the future the Green Deal Energy Company Obligation will be one of the key policies in this area. As described in the recent government consultation, part of this scheme will specifically be designed to provide "Affordable Warmth" to low income vulnerable households, through heating and insulation measures. The Energy Company Obligation will ensure that support for the fuel poor remains and continues to be targeted at those most in need. Government is expected to announce the way forward on the Green Deal and ECO shortly.