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One-in-seven Welsh households in fuel poverty, data shows

03 Nov 2022 3 minute read
An elderly lady with her electric fire on at home. Picture by Peter Byrne / PA Wire.

More than one-in-seven Welsh households were in fuel poverty last year, and that figure could rise to nearly half by the end of the year, Welsh Government figures quoted by the Liberal-Democrats have said.

Annual fuel poverty estimates data released by the Welsh Government today shows that fuel poverty had risen in Wales during 2021, before the largest price hikes even came into effect in 2022.

The figures show 14% of all households in Wales were living in fuel poverty by the end of 2021, up from 12% in 2018. It also showed 3% of homes were living in severe fuel poverty and 11% of homes were at risk of falling into fuel poverty.

The data showed that those living in the private rental sector (22%) and in rural areas (17%) were more likely to be living in fuel poverty.

Estimates from the Welsh Government in April stated that up to 45% of Welsh homes could be in fuel poverty by the end of 2022.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have said that, while the Conservatives in Westminster were responsible for not taking action on energy profits with a strong windfall tax, Labour had left Wales vulnerable to price shocks by not investing enough in insulation programmes or in improving poor housing stock.

“The report tells us what we already knew, that the Welsh Government aren’t taking home insulation seriously enough,” said Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds.

“If the numbers of people in fuel poverty rose even before the latest price increases this year came into effect I dread to think what they are now, especially in rural regions like my own with a large number of homes off-grid.

“The Conservatives may have failed to act on the profits of energy giants, but Labour has left Welsh households vulnerable to price shocks like these.

“Our plans for an accelerated home insulation programme would not only help decrease those in fuel poverty, but also help save the planet and contribute to economic growth.

“Energy prices are only going to get higher, Labour needs to act now and not continue to kick the can down the road.”

Insulation programme

Previous research by the Liberal Democrats has shown that Labour’s current insulation programme could take 135 years to complete and the party has called for a £1.75 billion scheme to accelerate home insulation which they say would create 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs across Wales over 15 years and generate around £2.2bn for the Welsh economy, in addition to reducing the £67 million per year spent by the Welsh NHS on conditions caused by poor housing. 

The party has also called on the Welsh Government to publish fuel poverty reports twice a year, including with a breakdown by local authorities. Currently, the data is only published sporadically every few years.

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