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CAB - Millions will be condemned to fuel poverty without stronger Government action

The Government must take firm action to help the 4.5 million UK households in fuel poverty, Citizens Advice warns as the Department of Energy and Climate Change published new statistics yesterday.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive Citizens Advice said:

“Hiding behind the tiny reduction in fuel poverty is the shocking news that 4.5 million households can’t afford properly heated homes, including 3.5 million with children, elderly, long-term sick and disabled people. Punishing price rises, falling incomes and severe weather mean that many more who are struggling will be pushed into poverty.

“The Government hasn’t put enough money into its Energy Company Obligation (ECO) grants scheme for it to make a real difference, and the Green Deal is practically powerless to help low-income households. The Government's fuel poverty strategy must set out comprehensive plans to eradicate fuel poverty, including legally binding targets. Anything less will condemn millions to another winter in cold, damp and unhealthy homes.”

Citizens Advice is concerned that:

  • Less than half of ECO funding is ring fenced for fuel-poor households, meaning that many of the most vulnerable will be left without help.
  • Despite additional consumer protections, the Green Deal may be open to mis-selling and pressure selling.
  • Locking future occupiers into a contract which they did not set up, without any ability to renegotiate is unreasonable.

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
  3. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  4. Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
  5. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.


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