Policy Summary: Meeting or Missing the Milestones: Committee on Fuel Poverty Annual Report 2023
The Committee on Fuel Poverty (CFP) has published their latest annual report today, which assesses progress towards the Government’s 2030 fuel poverty statutory target and 2025 fuel poverty interim milestone. The report also makes a series of recommendations to Government on how they can address fuel poverty in order to meet these targets.
The Government has already declared its intention to review the 2021 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which is vital if it is to meet the 2025 and 2030 targets. This report is expected to inform the Government’s review.
Below is a summary of some of the report’s key findings and recommendations.
You can also read the full report here.
The Government’s Fuel Poverty Targets
The government’s statutory fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030. The interim milestones are:
- As many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable to Band E by 2020
- As many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable to Band D by 2025
- The last Annual Report was published in October 2021. Since then there have been a series of shocks to the UK economy which have hindered progress towards the Government’s fuel poverty targets.
- Since 2021, soaring fuel prices have forced 287,000 more households into fuel poverty. On the other hand, energy efficiency measures have contributed to some 145,000 households being removed from fuel poverty, whilst increased incomes have lifted 48,000 out of fuel poverty. The net effect is an increase of 100,000 more households being in fuel poverty compared to 2021.
- The Government forecasts a further rise in fuel poverty to 3.53 million this year (a rise of 270,000), and a further widening of the fuel poverty gap to an average of £443 per household, an increase of 31%.
- The 2020 Fuel Poverty milestone has already been missed and an unacceptable number of CFP recommendations have yet to be acted upon.
- The 2020 milestone to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band E has still not been met. This does not bode well for meeting the 2025 milestone.
- The 704,000 properties in England rated E, F and G require urgent upgrading, or the second 2025 milestone will be missed.
- According to the Government’s own assessments, published in a response of 18 January 2023 to an Environmental Information Regulations request, “Current announced policies are expected to upgrade around 140,000 E-G homes to D+ by 2025. This would result in 515,000 fuel poor households still being rated E-G in 2025.”
- To ensure that low income households are living in homes that are at least Band D rated by 2025, the Committee has identified two things as essential: o That all such households are easily, cost-effectively, identified.
- That energy efficiency programmes are well-targeted at those households
- Achieving the 2030 target will involve upgrading approximately 3.26 million D-G rated households to a C rating.
- To meet the 2030 target, the Government will have to upgrade to a C rating at least 365,000 D rated properties per year from 2023 to 2030.
The report makes 5 broad recommendations on how the Government can address fuel poverty in England in order to meet its fuel poverty targets. They are:
1. Ensure a robust Fuel Poverty Strategy and effective measurement of fuel poverty that leaves no one behind.
2. Improve targeting of payments to support bills and better targeted energy efficiency programmes to meet the government’s milestones.
3. Improve affordability of bills through fairer pricing and better regulation to protect the fuel poor.
4. A shared mission to tackle fuel poverty adopted by government, local government and the NHS.
5. A fair transition to net zero that does not increase fuel poverty.
Table of Recommendations and Calls to Action
These 5 key recommendations are underpinned by 19 calls to action, which are laid out in the table below.