Income as a Cause
With some understanding of who the fuel poor are, it is now possible to examine what is known about their expenditure, income levels and sources of income. This will inform the debate about how much fuel poverty could be reduced by additional income and at what cost. Thus, a discussion about the effectiveness of current policies has to encompass the relationship between actual income (from benefits and other sources) and fuel poverty. This is part of the income debate. The discussion on expenditure in this chapter relates to the total energy budget; the amount of fuel and warmth that is bought is dealt with in Chapter 5. From the previous chapter, for England in 2006:
• Low income correlates strongly with fuel poverty. • Most of the fuel poor are on a low income but, depending on the defini-
tion, up to a third of the fuel poor are not. • Only 58 per cent of the fuel poor receive means-tested benefits, disability
living allowance (DLA) or tax credits; the other 42 per cent do not (Table 2.9).