Call for new approach to tackling fuel poverty in Wales
Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency, Mark Isherwood AM, has urged the Welsh Government to adopt a new approach to tackling fuel poverty.
Mr Isherwood made the call in the Senedd Chamber during yesterday’s Business Statement, when he referred to two new reports, which both recognise that while some progress has been made in addressing fuel poverty in Wales, much more needs to be done.
Calling for a Welsh Government Statement on its developing revised policy on fuel poverty in light of the reports, Mr Isherwood said:
“A report on 3 October from the Auditor General for Wales said that the number of households in fuel poverty in Wales had fallen since 2008, but the Welsh Government had missed its targets.
It said that the causes of fuel poverty are complex, that Welsh Government have spent £249 million on its Warm Homes programme to reduce fuel poverty, but identified tensions between trying to eradicate carbon emissions from domestic housing and prioritising efforts and funding on fuel-poor households, which tend to use less energy, and made a series of recommendations to the Welsh
Government, including lessons learnt from the failure to meet the current targets set in 2010, linking fuel poverty schemes with other work to tackle the underlying causes of fuel poverty, and considering how fuel poverty schemes could prevent costs in other service areas and contribute to wider policy goals.
“Secondly, in this context, the report on 7 October from the Bevan Foundation, which said that, although the Welsh Government had made some progress in reducing fuel poverty over the last decade, the richest households had benefited most. In 2008, of the 70 per cent richest households, over 83,000 were estimated to be living in fuel poverty, and that that’s now 75 per cent lower, whereas the bottom tenth poorest households have only seen a drop of 25 per cent.
So, we now have only 21,000 of the richest households and 92,000 of the poorest households, perhaps, as they said, providing ‘an indication as to why the Welsh Government has failed in its target to eradicate fuel poverty’, and proposing that, in future, the fuel poverty targets should instead be focused on the poorest households rather than simply across the piste. I call for a Statement accordingly.”
In her response, the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans AM, said the Welsh Government are considering the two reports alongside “the consideration we are giving to the way forward in terms of our approach to tackling fuel poverty”.
Speaking outside the Chamber, Mr Isherwood added: ”As the Bevan Foundation stated, ‘What is clear is that as the Welsh Government seeks to adopt a new fuel poverty strategy, its focus must be on those households who are living in poverty.
At present a household is said to live in fuel poverty in Wales if they spend more than 10% of their income on fuel costs. Whilst this may be a good measure of homes that are expensive to heat, it is not a good measure of poverty.
We believe that the Welsh Government’s focus should be on those poorer households. In both England and Scotland, new measures have recently been adopted that try to more accurately capture those households that are pushed into poverty by their fuel costs.
We believe that the Welsh Government should consider adopting a similar approach so that its activities over the next decade are targeted at those households trapped in poverty’.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com