Select Committee on Trade and Industry Second Report


161. As we have stated, promotion of policies to increase security of energy supply may have the effect of raising prices. This would bear most heavily on the poorest sectors of society. In this context, we note in particular that a very significant factor in the recent reduction in the number of those affected by fuel poverty[340] has been the decrease in fuel prices.[341] The Government is committed to reducing the number further.

162. We heard evidence on fuel poverty and what could be done to alleviate it, and we had intended to comment on this at some length in this Report. However, while we were taking evidence, the Government published its new fuel poverty strategy, and we decided that it would be better to treat this subject separately from this inquiry. Accordingly, we intend to hold an inquiry into fuel poverty later this year.

340   Defined as those having to spend more than 10% of their income to achieve a reasonable degree of warmth in their homes. Back

341   Q 648 (Energywatch) and Appendix 6 (National Energy Action). The reduction in the number of those in fuel poverty has been from about 6.5 million people in 1996 to about 4 million in 2000. Back

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