The issue of fuel poverty is a growing concern amongst UK residents, as the cost of energy is increasing at an alarming rate, leaving underprivileged people and families unable to heat their homes during the colder months.
In order to tackle the issue, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has created a new definition for fuel poverty, after undertaking an independent review and consultation.
According to the government body, households at risk of fuel poverty are defined by whether their total income is below the poverty line (below 60 per cent of the median after accounting for energy costs), or areas where energy costs are higher than typical levels.
Now, new amendments have been made to the Energy Bill which set a new target for fuel poverty, which will ensure that fuel-poor households are able to reach a set standard of energy efficiency – whether this is through the installation of solar panels, high-grade insulation or double glazing.
Poorer households will be given a new minimum standard definition for energy efficiency, to make sure that support is offered to those that are most in need.
Secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Davey said that he is "determined" to tackle the issue of fuel poverty to help those who suffer at the hands of rising energy prices.
“In the past, action to tackle fuel poverty has been held back by how the problem has been defined. This made it difficult to deliver help to the people who need it most," he said.
“The new definition, together with the amendment that we are making to the Energy Bill, will ensure a focus on the households that are at the heart of the fuel poverty problem. That’s those with both low incomes and high energy costs."
Greg Barker, minister for energy and climate change, said that the government is doing everything possible to protect hardworking and vulnerable families who are struggling with rising living costs. This includes the chancellor's extension of the Warm Home Discount scheme to 2015/16, which is expected to save £320 million in energy bills for people across the UK.