Rural Fuel Poverty Gap widens

Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics published on 28 Feb 2023 for the year 2022 show that in 2022, households living in rural areas have a higher rate of fuel poverty and a much larger fuel poverty gap

Households living in rural areas have the highest fuel poverty rate of 15.9% in 2022 compared to urban areas having the overall median rate of 13.4%.  This has increased from the previously where both rural and urban areas had a fuel poverty rate of 13.5% in 2020. 

In addition, the statistics confirm the figures for off gas grid housing with 52.6% of rural properties being off the gas grid compared to just 9.8% of urban properties.  This has huge implications for rural communities if the Government presses ahead with its plans to move properties off the gas grid to electric heat pump systems about 10 years ahead of those using gas. The report highlights how households in rural areas are on average in much less energy efficient homes which would mean that households would need to spend a significant amount of money, often tens of thousands of pounds in ensuring that they are energy efficient and able to support an electric heat pump system.

One of the most startling figures in the recently published statistics is the fuel poverty gap.  The fuel poverty gap is the additional income which would be needed to bring a household to the point of not being fuel poor. 

For rural areas, using 2020 figures, this was £501 with urban areas at around £200.  In 2022, these figures are astronomical for rural area with the fuel poverty gap sitting at £956 compared to the lowest fuel poverty gap in London at £223.

Research by the Rural Services Network last year showed that a devastating triple blow of higher household and transport energy poverty, along with lower wages earnt in rural areas pushes rural communities into a cost of living emergency.

This research can be viewed here

As can be seen by the statistics recently published by the Government, they need to take action to support our rural communities so that they are not further penalised by the cost of living crisis and the choice of whether to heat their homes, or feed their families.

See more information here


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