The Department for Energy and Climate Change said a new definition that cut the official number of \”fuel poor\” families from 3.5m to 2.5m was being introduced to ensure help is \”targeted at those who need it most\”.
But critics at the Fuel Poverty Action Group said the Government had \”masked an escalating cold homes crisis\” by simply redefining the problem.
Under the old measure, any family spending more than 10pc of their income on gas and electricity was judged as being \”fuel poor\”.
Last year energy secretary Ed Davey said this meant that technically, even the Queen may be considered to be in fuel poverty, because of the cost of heating Buckingham Palace and other estates.
The new measure from DECC classes fuel poverty as a home where \”the total income is below the poverty line, and energy costs are higher than typical\”.
Simply redefine your way out of a problem.
Then again, the original definition wasn\’t all that much cop anyway. What\’s a double fuel bill these days? £1,200 or so? So any household on £12,000 or less is in poverty. Yes, we knew that anyway.
Why there should be a distinct category of \”fuel\” poverty as opposed to \”poverty\” is unknown to me.