Hills Review on definition of fuel poverty – emerging thinking
The National Right to Fuel Campaign welcomes today’s interim report by the noted social policy expert, Professor John Hills.
Earlier in the year, the Government commissioned Prof Hills, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, to examine how serious a problem fuel poverty is and how it should be measured.
Prof Hills emerging thinking is very much in line with what we at the NRFC have been arguing for some time: fuel poverty should in the main be viewed as a factor of poor housing standards not an issue that can be solved through switching energy suppliers and simplifying energy tariffs.
The report found that between 2004 and 2009 the “fuel poverty gap” (the extra amount those with badly insulated homes and poor heating systems would need to spend to keep warm) increased by 50% to £1.1bn as a result of rising fuel prices:
“Living in cold homes has a series of effects on illness and mental health. But the most serious is its contribution to Britain’s unusually high rates of ‘excess winter deaths’. There are many contributors to this problem, but even if only a tenth of them are due directly to fuel poverty, that means that 2,700 people in England and Wales are dying each year as a result – more than the number killed in traffic accidents – it is essential that we improve the energy efficiency of the whole housing stock.”
The full report can be found here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/funding/fuel_poverty/hills_review/hills_review.aspx