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Fuel Poverty Commentary

We’ve long known that Brenda Boardman speaks a lot of sense. Yesterday the Guardian published a piece by her which is well worth reading as an antidote to the usual political mudslinging:

“Fuel Poverty is getting worse. Can Ed Miliband save the day?”

Since the targets for alleviating fuel poverty were originally set, the government has never really taken fuel poverty seriously. Warm Front was OK, but had serious problems and wasn’t even really directly designed to address fuel poverty – many of the fuel poor weren’t eligible, many of the recipients of Warm Front weren’t Fuel Poor, and there was no emphasis on even measuring whether recipients were lifted out of Fuel Poverty by Warm Front measures. Now we have ECO Affordable Warmth and CSCO, both of which are complex and difficult to access. It seems likely that now is a time at which Fuel Poverty is more of an issue for society than ever, as as we approach 2016 the government seems to be doing less to address it than any time since it first came to prominence as a public issue almost 2 decades ago.”

One area that is not often covered, and which we will be dedicating some time to over the next year, is the concept of Rising Block Tariffs. You can see some of our initial thoughts on how it was wrongly ruled out in the Hills Fuel Poverty Review in our comment to this article from the Association of Conservation of Energy.

Brenda’s article highlights how it really is time for a well informed and disinterested evaluation of the role RBTs could play in reducing fuel poverty and incentivising the upgrade of our housing stock.