Fuel poverty in the UK
Fuel poverty is a major and complicated issue in the UK and, according to National Energy Action’s 2017 Warm Homes Campaign, is not one that can be solved within the lifetime of anyone born today.
The most recent official Government statistics (statistics for 2014, released in 2016) put the number of households living in fuel poverty in England at 2.38 million, which is approximately 10.6% of all households. This figure appears to be increasing year on year and across the UK the total is closer to 4 million households, the residents of which face restricted life chances because they live in cold, damp properties.
People are defined as fuel poor if they have fuel costs above the national median (~£1200) and, if they were to spend that amount, they would be left below the official poverty line (60% of the median UK household income).
The average fuel poverty gap, the amount needed to cross the fuel poverty threshold, has grown from £235 in 2003 to £371 in 2014, giving an aggregated fuel poverty gap across all fuel poor households of £882 million. This shows that not only is the number of fuel poor households is growing, the depth of that poverty is increasing too.
There are significant links between fuel poverty and the energy efficiency and characteristics of a dwelling. These include the property’s age, size, heating source and level of insulation. For example, households in homes with insulated cavity walls are least likely to be in fuel poverty, while fuel poverty is substantially more common among those in solid wall properties.
We have nearly 30 years’ experience at working with local authorities and borough councils, housing associations, universities, health and wellbeing professionals and vulnerable resident focused community groups and charities. We currently manage the Affordable Warmth Network for two counties where we provide daily assistance to fuel poor residents through outreach and via a helpline.
Our fuel poverty courses build on our wealth of knowledge and experience. We provide tailored training to ensure your organisation and staff feel capable and confident to tackle fuel poverty among their residents or clients.
The standard fuel poverty course covers:
- What fuel poverty is, its causes and implications.
- Who is most at risk and why.
- Fuel poverty and its relation to other poverty indicators, the ‘heat or eat’ dilemma.
- The relationship between fuel poverty, energy efficiency and energy use in the home.
- Understanding heat loss and the effective use of heating controls.
- Managing fuel bills, finding the right tariff and payment option for the your client.
- How to recognise fuel poverty indicators and professionally discuss it over the phone, in a resident's home or in the community.
- Knowing of the options for referrals, and identifying which are appropriate for a particular situation.
Benefits of our fuel poverty training to your organisation:
- Experienced and knowledgeable trainers.
- Flexible training to suit your aims and objectives.
- Sessions for between 8 and 25 people that can be either a longer formal session or part of an existing team meeting, for example.
- Training delivered at your premises, saving staff time and expenditure.
- Help persuade colleagues and partners to support efforts to tackle fuel poverty.
- Reduce the incidence of cold-related illness among vulnerable residents.
- Bring more referrals and associated ECO funding into play, to improve the heating and insulation of local housing.
- A visual GIS map showing relative levels of fuel poverty to prioritise your response.
- Help achieve accreditation (for example, ISO:9001/14001) or roll-out a new initiative.
- Help with your statutory obligations and responsibilities.
Our training can be as bespoke and interactive as your organisation requires - focusing on the issues facing your clients while building capability for your staff.
If you work with vulnerable residents, contact us today to see how you can improve their financial stability, health and wellbeing while also lowering their carbon footprint.