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Millions will be condemned to fuel poverty without stronger Government action

16 May 2013

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 publishes new statistics today.

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, the Citizens Advice consumer service 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 see the Citizens Advice website.
  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.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.