Monday, 14 April 2008

Extra £225m to beat fuel poverty

Up to 100,000 households could be helped with their fuel bills under a deal agreed between the UK's big six energy companies and the government.

The energy firms have agreed to boost their collective annual spending on social assistance programmes by £225m over the next three years.

Spending will go up from £50m in the past financial year to £100m this year, £125m in 2009-10 and £150m in 2010-11.

The deal was brokered by Energy Secretary John Hutton.

'Eradicating fuel poverty'

If all the extra money was used to offset bills it could remove up to 100,000 homes from fuel poverty, although fewer would benefit if it was spent on more permanent energy efficiency measures. But consumer group Energywatch recently said social tariffs reached only one in 15 of the most vulnerable households.

A home is judged to be in fuel poverty if 10% or more of the household income is spent on energy bills.

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