Caroline Flint MP asked the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made regarding the effect of the Affordable Warmth Scheme on the number of households who are currently suffering from fuel poverty. The Affordable Warmth Scheme started on 1st January 2013 and is initially scheduled to run through to March 2015. The MP asked for the number of households who would be helped in 2012 – 2013, 2013 – 2014 and 2014 – 2015.
Fuel poverty is defined by the Government as existing when more than 10% of household income is required to be spent on energy in order to achieve reasonable levels of warmth in the home. In this instance, adequate warmth means a temperature of around 22º centigrade in the main living areas of a home and 18º centigrade in all other areas. The main factors which contribute to fuel poverty are low household income, energy efficiency of the heating system, poor insulation in the home and the cost of fuel.
Gregory Barker MP (Minister of State Energy and Climate Change) replied that ‘quantifying the impact of any specific policy in a specific year on levels of fuel poverty is extremely challenging, given uncertainty around changes in the level and distribution of incomes across households, changes to the housing stock and energy prices. For this reason, we have not made an assessment of the short-term impact of ECO Affordable Warmth in any given individual year’.
He went on to say that the ‘ECO Affordable Warmth obligation will assist around 130,000 low income, vulnerable households each scheme year. Coupled with the Carbon Saving Communities obligation around 230,000 households on low incomes or in low income areas will be assisted through ECO each scheme year, greatly alleviating pressure on fuel bills’.
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