Expert to help on fuel poverty

The government has appointed a social policy expert to lead an independent fuel poverty review.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has asked Professor John Hills to head up a review to define and measure fuel poverty in order to help vulnerable consumers.

Professor John Hills is Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion and Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics. His research interests include income distribution and the welfare state, social security, housing and taxation.

The Spending Review last year announced an independent review of the fuel poverty target and definition so that available resources could be designated to tackling the problems underlying fuel poverty.

Latest figures suggest that in 2010, four million households were in fuel poverty in England.

A household is currently classed as being in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to keep their home warm enough.

Professor John Hills said: "Many households have been under pressure from their heating bills this winter, some severely so because of their particular needs or difficulties in keeping their homes warm.

"It is crucial that we measure the scale of the problem and trends in it accurately. I am looking forward to reviewing the evidence on the underlying issues that lead to fuel poverty and on how well the current measure reflects the problems involved and the effectiveness of policies to counter it".

The Review will publish interim findings in autumn 2011 and provide a final report to Government at the beginning of 2012. Alison Brown


| heating & cooling | gas


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