Small drop in fuel poverty in 2011

The number of fuel-poor households in the UK fell to 4.5 million in 2011, from 4.75 million in 2010, according to the latest official annual report.

The report from the Department for Energy and Climate Change also provides figures based on the alternative measure for fuel poverty suggested by Professor John Hills in his independent review (March 2012).

Key points

  • In the UK as a whole, fuel poverty was estimated to have fallen from 4.75 million households in 2010 to 4.5 million in 2011.
  • In England. the number of fuel-poor households, under the existing 10 per cent measure, fell to 3.2 million in 2011, from 3.5 million in 2010. Under the alternative 'low income high cost measure' (LIHC) proposed in the Hills review, 2.6 million households were fuel-poor in England in 2011, a decrease of 0.1 million compared with 2010.
  • The fuel poverty aggregate gap, a new measure recommended by the Hills review to measure the depth of fuel poverty, increased by £22 million to £1.15 billion in 2011, and the average gap increased by £26 to £448.
  • The reduction in the number of households in fuel poverty was attributed to two main factors: rising incomes, particularly among lower-income households at risk of fuel poverty; and reduced energy consumption, reflecting general improvements in the energy efficiency of dwellings. These combined to offset the impact of the price increases seen in 2011.

Under the existing 10 per cent definition, a household is said to be fuel poor if it needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth. Under the proposed LIHC definition, a household is considered to be fuel poor when it has fuel costs above the national average, and when it would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line if it spent that amount.

The fuel poverty gap is the difference – aggregated across all households with low income and high costs – between the modelled fuel bill and the reasonable cost threshold.

Annual Report on Fuel Poverty Statistics 2013, Department for Energy and Climate Change 
LinksReport | Statistical release | Trends in fuel poverty 2003 to 2011 | DECC press release | Citizens Advice press release | Inside Housing report



Publication date: 
May 16 2013