Survey of Fuel Poverty Research (2024)

The UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is undertaking a review of the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England (BEIS, 2021: Sustainable Warmth: Protecting Vulnerable Households in England).

As part of the review, Minister Solloway and the DESNZ Fuel Poverty team are gathering stakeholder views, research insights and evidence. To support the review, the FPRN Committee conducted a short survey of the FPRN network to share evidence, research, or information that they felt the UK Government should consider.

The survey was conducted over a three-week period during February 2024. This report is a summary of responses to the survey. 20 people responded to the survey, including academics, local authority representatives and NGO researchers. The report includes 6 headline findings, which are also presented below.

In March, representatives of FPRN met with Amanda Solloway MP (Minister for Energy Consumers and Affordability) and others from DESNZ to discuss the findings and to begin a dialogue on how research can inform directions for fuel poverty policy.

Read our report (pdf)

Headline findings

  1. Energy efficiency and heating interventions have a positive impact on beneficiaries’ health
    and well-being and are cost effective with respect to wider social benefits. However, failure to
    include ventilation and heat recovery measures, if required, or to ensure high standards of
    installation can potentially result in adverse health impacts.
  2. Substantial investment is needed in order for the government to meet its 2030 fuel poverty
    target. According to some estimates, a further £18 billion expenditure is required to current
    levels. An estimated £8 billion of this shortfall could be met by restoring the MEES uplift to
    EPC C, as originally proposed by the government.
  3. ECO funds need to be more effectively targeted at areas with high levels of fuel poverty.
    Delivery of retrofit programmes needs streamlining, complexity reduced and skill shortages
    and other barriers addressed.
  4. Low-income consumers need more support to pay their energy bills. This could be provided
    through an emergency tariff, a social tariff, reform of the Warm Homes Discount (WHD) or a
    minimum energy allowance. The last of these would require minimal public funding.
  5. It is essential that policies are introduced now to ensure a fair transition to net zero, such as
    free or discounted access to heat pumps, inclusive flexibility services and a strategy for
    enabling consumer participation in decarbonisation programmes.
  6. Adopt complementary indicators to the LILEE indicator which better reflect the level of
    hardship many households face due to recent fuel price rises. Independent research and
    stakeholder engagement would facilitate this.