Fuel poverty leads to ill-health

Fuel poverty is a ‘distinct and serious’ problem producing physical and mental ill-health and excess winter deaths, argues Interim Report on Fuel Poverty commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Fuel poverty arises from a combination of high fuel costs, low incomes and poorly insulated homes and a household is defined as ‘fuel poor’ if more than 10 per cent of its income is spent keeping the home adequately warm (21°C in the living room). John Hills, the report’s author, argues that it is essential to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock but that people on low incomes are often living in the least energy efficient properties and are not in a position to invest in remedial measures. He proposes a new method of measuring fuel poverty, which combines low incomes with high costs.

The full report is available at the Department of Energy & Climate Change website.