Select Committee on Trade and Industry Sixth Report


The Trade and Industry Committee has agreed to the following Report:



We cannot rely on lower fuel costs to continue to produce reductions in the number of fuel poor — this lever has probably been depressed as far as possible. Increasing household incomes is comparatively inefficient, as it appears that a high percentage of those who are in need and ought to be eligible for assistance do not claim because of wide variations in their circumstances, while other groups arguably less in need but in receipt of the relevant benefits are helped out of public funds. The only real long term solution is greater energy efficiency of the housing stock: if further proof of this were required, we need only look to the rest of Europe, much of which has higher fuel prices than the UK and equally poor sections of the population but where the specific problem of fuel poverty is largely unknown, and where housing standards are much higher. Although concentration on energy efficiency measures represents a short-term increase in expenditure, in the long term this is the only response that can help the environment, save money and alleviate the considerable suffering experienced by the four million or so fuel poor households in the UK.

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