Who are the fuel poor?
After April 2023 when the Energy Price Guarantee is raised from £2,500 to £3,000 and the £400 rebate to all households runs out, fuel poverty will rise. This paper shows who will be affected by fuel poverty after April, based on analysis of the ONS Living Costs and Fuel Survey. We use a threshold of households spending more than 20 per cent of their net income after housing costs on fuel. The analysis describes their characteristics, their fuel poverty rates, their fuel poverty gaps and which households in fuel poverty are not being helped by the mitigations for households receiving social security benefits.
There is clearly an association between fuel poverty and net income, with fuel poverty concentrated in the lower-income deciles, but some richer households also spend more than 20 per cent of their income on fuel and a third of households in fuel poverty are not income poor. Childless couple households are less likely than average to be fuel poor, and couples with two or more children and lone-parent households are more likely to be fuel poor. Pensioner households are no more likely to be fuel poor.
If there had been no mitigations for social security recipient households, 27.1 per cent of households would be fuel poor from April 2023. The mitigations will reduce that by 5.5 percentage points or 20.3 per cent. 65.5 per cent of all fuel poor households are receiving cost of living payments but that leaves 34.5 per cent (or 2,596,000) of them not receiving the payments. Households with children are most likely to be at risk after mitigation. The social security mitigations reduce the fuel poverty gap by 22.3 per cent overall, but for those not eligible the mean fuel poverty gap is £34.40 per week.