chapter  2
25 Pages

Finding the Fuel Poor

Now that fuel poverty is politically accepted as a real problem, there are some difficult definitional issues to consider. All of these are compounded by the circular argument: who is fuel poor depends on the definition; but the definition depends on who you want to focus on and this involves political judgement. Some of the answers just have to be pragmatic. Some may be government decisions, based on an underlying philosophy, though this is rarely made explicit and may not be sufficiently coherent. For instance, there are various definitions of a vulnerable household, so why did the government choose this one for fuel poverty? What are the relative political priorities for pensioners compared with families with young children (different definitions of fuel poverty favour them separately)?