Energy and Climate Change
John Robertson (Glasgow North West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to his Department's document, “Estimated impacts of energy and climate change policies on energy prices and bills”, what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of fuel poverty of rising energy costs attributable to energy policies.
Gregory Barker (Minister of State (Climate Change), Energy and Climate Change; Bexhill and Battle, Conservative)
Each year, DECC measures and publishes estimates of the number of fuel poor households in England. The current definition of fuel poverty means that a household is fuel poor if it would need to spend more than 10% of income on adequate energy services in the home. The latest estimates, which were published by the Department in May 2012, showed that there were 3.5 million fuel poor households in England in 2010 and that this was expected to increase to 3.9 million households by 2012. These estimates reflect all of the key drivers of fuel poverty: energy prices, household incomes, energy efficiency of the housing stock and the effect of Government policies.
The Department has not made an assessment of the aggregate impact of rising energy costs attributable to energy policies in future years on fuel poverty. However, the fuel poverty impacts of particular policies are often produced as part of policy impact assessments, particularly where those policies have particular significance to fuel poverty. As a good example, see the recently published impact assessment of the Green Deal.