Warm Homes Campaign

Raising awareness of the challenges faced by those in fuel poverty

What is fuel poverty?

Fuel poverty is caused by low incomes, high energy prices and energy inefficient housing.
A household is in fuel poverty if they cannot afford to adequately heat their home.

Fuel Poverty causes misery, ill health and premature deaths in millions of households across the UK. Someone in fuel poverty will be cold, ill and making difficult decisions whether to heat or eat.

Who is in fuel poverty?

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimates that fuel poverty affects 2.5 million households in England (2015) using the new Low Income High Costs definition.

Governments in the devolved nations have retained the traditional ten percent definition, which means a household is deemed to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of household income on fuel.  The rate for each nation is shown below. For methodological reasons the rates across the UK cannot be summed, but it is estimated by National Energy Action (NEA) that fuel poverty affects over 4 million UK households - roughly 15% of all households.

10% Definition Low Income, High Cost
No. FP households % FP households No. FP households % FP households
England (1) 2,615,000 11.6% 2,502,000 11%
Scotland (2) 845,000 35% * *
Wales (3) 291,000 23% 132,000 10%
N Ireland (4) 294,000 42% * *
  1. Figures relate to 2015, published by BEIS June 2017.
  2. Figures relate to 2014, published by the Scottish Government December 2015.
  3. Figures are projected for 2016, published by the Welsh Government 2016.
  4. Figures related to 2011, published by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive 2014.

19.7% of all households living in properties with the lowest energy ratings (E, F or G) are fuel poor - they make up 36.9% of all fuel-poor households. This is compared to only 3% of households that live in properties with the highest energy ratings (A, B or C) - they make up just 7.8% of all fuel-poor households.*

21.3% of households in the private rented sector are fuel poor – they make up 37.6% of all fuel-poor households.

79.1% of households in fuel poverty are classed as vulnerable if they include children, the elderly, the long-term ill or disabled.*

  • * Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy fuel poverty statistics, detailed table 2017, England. National Statistics.

The Warm Homes Campaign

New research by charity National Energy Action (NEA) has revealed over 1 million fuel-poor families in England will not have the cash to meet basic living expenses as winter begins to bite.

It says that families in fuel poverty are facing an income shortfall of up to £9,331 per year (£778 per month) to cover basic essentials, including energy. The charity also warns half a million low-income households could miss out on energy rebates and the proposed new safeguard price cap.

The findings are included as part of "Bridging the Gap – addressing the cost of living facing UK households this winter" which has been published at the start of NEA's winter-long Warm Homes Campaign.

NEA believes that the most cost-effective and enduring solution to ending fuel poverty is increasing investment in domestic energy efficiency. However, like many campaigning organisations, NEA is increasingly concerned by the impacts poor earnings growth, cuts to working-age benefits, the roll-out of universal credit and above-inflation rises in the cost of essential goods and services (including energy) are having on the poorest in our society.

The Warm Homes Campaign raises awareness of the challenges faced by those in fuel poverty, the difficult choices they have to make, and the solutions available. It launched on the 17 November and will continue until 23 February 2018 which is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day.

For more information about the Warm Homes Campaign visit: NEA - Warm Homes Campaign.

Useful resources to help tackle fuel poverty in your local area

There are plenty of resources in single and bundled PDF format to help you get involved in tackling fuel poverty in your community. If you are just starting out, we encourage you to use our QuickStart Toolkit to get a good starting point, or download one of our Starter Kits.

Quickstart Toolkit Starter Kits.

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