It can be difficult addressing the challenges of fuel poverty with attention currently focused on how to keep cool. However, it is important to continue working towards reducing the numbers of households in fuel poverty before the next heating period.
The Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics report was recently published; presenting the latest statistical trends and analysis relating to fuel poverty in 2013. This blog takes a closer look at who the fuel poor are and the key differences in the statistics from 2012 to 2013.
Key figures on typical fuel poor households
The key drivers behind fuel poverty are:
- the energy efficiency of the property (and therefore, the energy required to heat and power things);
- the cost of energy; and
- household income.
The report analyses fuel poverty by examining energy efficiency and dwelling characteristics while also examining household income and characteristics.
The number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at around 2.35 million in 2013, representing approximately 10.6 per cent of all English households. This figure shows a reduction of 0.5 per cent from 2.36 million households in 2012.
DECC has produced this infographic (click on to enlarge) to represent some of the key figures on typical fuel poor households. These results were taken from the annual statistics in 2012.
The percentage of homes that are fuel poor has shifted from 2012. The infographic shows the main group of people affected by fuel poverty are families; this figure had lowered since 2012 by about 3%. However, the number of couples (who have no dependent children under 60) suffering from fuel poverty has increased by 2%. The main finding therefore is an increase in multi-person households and couples under 60 with no dependent children suffering from fuel poverty.
The energy efficiency of a property is closely linked to both the age of the dwelling and the floor area. It is expected, that these properties will have higher fuel costs and more likely to be fuel poor. This relationship is visualised in the infographic showing 70% of houses with fuel poor households were built before 1974. The Annual Fuel Poverty statistics report shows a similar pattern in the fuel poverty gap which decreases from approximately £500 in pre-1919 homes to £250 in homes built after 1945.
Generally the fuel poverty figures in England remain largely unchanged from 2012 to 2013. The number of fuel poor households with low incomes and high costs has decreased; however there has been a notable increase in other quadrants. This implies that between 2012 and 2013, some households who would have previously been classed as having low income and high costs, have seen increases in either their incomes, or decreases in their energy consumption levels and therefore their costs on energy. With 2.35 million homes still suffering from fuel poverty, it is important to continue working on ways to reduce this figure. Improving energy efficiency – through the fabric of your housing stock and behaviour change – is the only sustainable way to bring it down.
You can download the full report here.
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