The government has missed its 2020 fuel poverty targets and is already at “high risk” of failing to meet its goals for 2025, a new report by the Committee on Fuel Poverty claims.
Fuel poverty generally denotes households that must spend a high proportion of their income to keep their home at an equitable temperature.
The report slammed what it called an “unacceptable” failure of the government to achieve its own target of ensuring all homes experiencing fuel poverty achieved a rating of E or higher for energy efficiency by 2020.
The report explained: “Government failed to apply its own fuel poverty guiding principle to target available funds on assisting those in the deepest levels of fuel poverty to improve the energy efficiency levels of their homes and assist them to pay their fuel bills, “adding:: “Instead, assistance was targeted (and continues to be targeted) predominantly on higher income households.”
It concluded that just 55 per cent of the 293,000 fuel-poor homes recorded to have a rating of G or F in 2015 had been upgraded in line with the government’s aims by last year.
Commenting on the findings, Liberal Democrat Leader and former Energy Secretary Ed Davey MP said: “The Conservatives are failing millions of hard working families and leaving them in fuel poverty at a time when energy bills are rocketing.
“As a result of this Government’s abysmal failures, people could find themselves unable to heat their homes this winter. With empty shelves in the supermarket and soaring energy bills, the Conservatives are leading us into a winter of discontent.
“The Government needs to step up now and help those struggling to pay their bills. Ministers must expand the Warm Homes Discount now and roll out an emergency programme of home insulation right across the country.”
The Liberal Democrats are calling for the ‘Warm Home Discount’ of £140 given to some pensioners to be doubled to £280 this year, and say it ought to be expanded to all those who receive Universal Credit.
The party is also demanding a massive home insulation programme to upgrade all poorly insulated UK homes within the next ten years – including through fully funded grants for those in fuel poverty and on low incomes.
Gas prices have soared by 250% since January.
Experts forecast that the energy price cap will be permitted to rise by an additional £400 when it is next reviewed in February.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition said last week that one in five households risk being forced into fuel poverty this winter.
This news comes amidst rising concerns regarding the cost of living in the UK as the £20 uplift to Universal Credit end, the National Insurance hike is set to come into effect next April and inflation continues to rise.