Fuel poverty: the problem and its measurement: interim report of the fuel poverty review: summary

Document type
Hills, John
Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion
Date of publication
3 October 2011
CASE report; 69
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This report contains interim findings and issues for consultation from the review of fuel poverty and its measurement commissioned by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The report draws on discussions with and evidence kindly submitted to the review by a wide range of individuals and organisations
concerned with fuel poverty and with tackling it, and on detailed analysis by the review’s secretariat. This report examines issues around whether ‘fuel poverty’ constitutes a distinct problem, and the implications of the problems identified for its measurement. This discussion, and the evidence reviewed in more detail in the report, explains why fuel poverty is – and should be – a concern within different policy debates. Its causes, impacts and solutions make fuel poverty a distinct problem. It comes at the overlap of different concerns, some with poverty in general, others with health, and others with domestic energy inefficiency. Tackling it therefore offers a potential ‘win-win-win’ for different agendas.

After examining a series of possible modifications or alternatives to the current approach to its measurement, we conclude that while they each bring insights into understanding the problem, they also have weaknesses. We have
therefore put forward an alternative approach to measuring fuel poverty, drawing on these insights, which more directly measures what is described in the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act and in everyday discussion of what fuel poverty is and how to tackle it – looking at those who both have low incomes and high costs.

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