While wind and rain have been bigger problems than excessive cold this winter, data from the DECC suggests there are between 2-3 million households in England struggling to heat their homes and meet other costs. There is an updated fuel poverty atlas now available at Cambridgeshire Insight, looking at local level fuel poverty in Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk.
In 2012, the DECC accepted recommendations from the 2011 Hills Review to redefine fuel poverty. The old definition defined fuel poverty as spending more than 10% of income on fuel. The new definition considered high cost/ low income. The previous definition classed some very rich fuel poor households as fuel poor or at risk of fuel poverty, e.g. The Queen.
Locally, there were 41,885 households in the sub-region who were fuel poor based on the old definition. Based on the new definition which considers household income against fuel costs, there are now 33,402 households defined as fuel poor.
As well as decreasing the number of fuel poor households, it has also shifted fuel poverty from rural areas to urban areas. In the sub-region the new definition reduces the number of fuel poor households in Fenland, but slightly increases the number in Cambridge. Under the new definition there are more people in fuel poverty in London.
The graph below shows the impact of this change in definition to the percentage of households in fuel poverty in the Cambridge sub-region compared to the East of England and the country as a whole. Nationally the new definition has taken 812,000 households out of fuel poverty.
For full national data set on which this and our atlas are based, please see the DECC sub-regional fuel poverty statistics
Originally posted on author's personal blog, 4th Feb 2014