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“Fuel poverty targets at risk” says industry body

Targets to eradicate fuel poverty risk being missed, according to leading energy body Energy and Utilities Alliance CEO Mike Foster. His claim comes from analysis contained in the Committee on Climate Change in the recent Fifth Carbon Budget.

The CCC's report states that fuel poverty has risen to 4.5 million households (2013) from 3.3 million (2007), despite promises to tackle the problem. In particular, pledges from the devolved administrations to eradicate fuel poverty look likely to be missed. Scotland promised to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016, but 39 per cent of households are still in fuel poverty. Northern Ireland, where 42 per cent of households are in fuel poverty, also pledged to eradicate the problem by 2016.

The CCC also give a stark warning to the UK Government, stating that fuel poverty will only get back to 2007 levels by 2030 with carefully targeted and fully funded support.

Mr Foster, a former Government Minister, said:

"The CCC report is a stark warning to politicians. They suggest that fuel poverty is here to stay, and for the fifth richest country in the world that cannot be right. The CCC is right to point out that various plans to eradicate fuel poverty look set to fail and big time too."

"Looking at Scotland, I cannot see fuel poverty disappearing in 11 months - it would be great if that happened, but politicians need to be honest with people. If two in every five households are in fuel poverty the challenge is simply too big to be met on time."

"It is also a sobering statement, that in 15 years' time, and only after carefully targeted action that is fully funded, will the UK be back in the same position we were eight years ago."

In the November Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that the ECO scheme used to fund fuel poverty strategies will be cut.

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