Fuel poverty is on the rise in the UK, but what exactly is Fuel poverty?

Fuel poverty can simply be considered as not being able to afford your energy bills, and therefore keep your home warm. There are different definitions across the UK however.

In England, a household is living in fuel poverty if it has above average energy costs and if paying these costs pushes the household below the poverty line in terms of the remaining income. The Government estimates that in 2018 there were 2.4 million fuel-poor households in England – that’s 10.3% of all home.

There is a slight difference in definition across the UK’s devolved governments, where a household is considered fuel poor if it needs to spend more than 10% of its combined income on energy costs. By this definition, 25% of all homes in Scotland are fuel poor, 12% in Wales and an alarming 42% in Northern Ireland. In total this equates to more than 3.5 million homes across the UK living in fuel poverty.


There are many different causes of fuel poverty, but the main three are;

  • Fuel Prices
  • Household Income
  • Energy efficiency


COVID-19 and Fuel Poverty.

Due to COVID-19, unemployment rates have risen dramatically in the past year and have disproportionally impacted those in lower income jobs. The UK’s fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) has recently undertaken research that demonstrates the negative impact the pandemic has had on fuel poverty. Due to higher rates of unemployment, combined with more people spending more time at home due to restrictions, the study has found there is a much high risk that fuel debt will increase this winter.