Fuel Poverty

Energy and Climate Change written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking together with local authorities and devolved Administrations to reduce levels of fuel poverty.

Photo of Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Energy and Climate Change)

Since 2000 over £20 billion has been spent on fuel poverty benefits and programmes.

This includes the Warm Front Scheme in England, carbon emissions reduction target and the Decent Homes Programme primarily addressing the energy efficiency of households, winter fuel and cold weather payments to increase household incomes.

The combination of national and local programmes and delivery through local government, partnerships and area-based schemes can help target areas of particular need. We are currently consulting on the Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP), where we propose to support energy efficiency measures at a local, community level, by fostering new and existing partnerships between energy companies, local authorities, voluntary organisations and other such bodies, to offer support to poorer communities on a house-by-house, street-by-street basis.

As part of the Local Government Framework, National Indicator 187 (Tackling Fuel Poverty) has been designed to measure the proportion of households on income-related benefits for whom an energy assessment of their housing has been carried out and have a SAP of below 35 or greater than 65. We are encouraged that 40 out of 150 local area agreements (LAAs) have included NI187 as one of their 35 local improvement targets and have set challenging but achievable targets. All local authorities will have to report on progress each year.

Responsibility for fuel poverty policy is a devolved matter. Ministers across Government and the devolved nations discuss policy to tackle fuel poverty and we publish an annual report which includes information on progress in the devolved Administrations.

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