Government support for families struggling in fuel poverty is being cut by more than a quarter, according to a new report.
Money going to the fuel-poor in England as a result of Government policies will have been reduced by 26% by next year compared with 2009 levels, a study by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (Ace) says.
- Funding down by a quarter since 2009
- Amount for energy efficiency measures also dropped
The amount of support specifically for energy efficiency measures, such as insulation for households struggling to pay power bills, will have fallen by 44% over that time.
This is despite energy efficiency being the best way to help people cut fuel bills and keep warm, anti-fuel poverty campaigners say.
It's estimated some 3.9 million households in England spend more than 10% of their income on heating.
Warm Front ending
Much of the reduction is due to the Government's decision to end the Warm Front programme, which helps people install insulation and other efficiency measures. But other schemes will also have less funding.
The report estimates the number of struggling households who will have work done to install energy efficiency measures will fall from 150,000 in 2009 to 100,000 in 2013.
Households in fuel poverty will see funding decline from £1.2 billion to £879 million in 2013, the report warns.
But the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has challenged Ace's figures, saying total fuel poverty spending was £760 million in 2009/2010 and would be £828 million in 2014/2015.
The study was commissioned by the Energy Bill Revolution, an alliance of more than 100 charities, consumer groups, businesses and unions. It wants the money raised from carbon taxes, which will add £25 to the average electricity bill next year, to be spent on making homes in fuel poverty super-energy efficient.
'Triple whammy for fuel-poor'
Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution, says: "The fuel-poor face a triple whammy. The fuel poverty budget has been slashed, the entire cost of new low-carbon power has been put on energy bills whilst Chancellor George Osborne has pocketed every penny of carbon tax.
"This is despite the fact there is enough carbon tax revenue to end fuel poverty forever. That is a toxic combination which will bring untold misery to millions of households across the UK."
A Decc spokesman says: "The coalition is committed to doing all that is reasonably practicable to end fuel poverty in England by 2016, and to helping people, especially low-income vulnerable households, heat their homes more affordably.
"We have announced our intention to launch a new fuel poverty strategy in 2013 following an independent review of our framework."