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Bevan Foundation reaction to the Welsh Government’s new Tackling Fuel Poverty Plan

March 2nd 2021

The Bevan Foundation is pleased to see some of its recommendations reflected in the Welsh Government’s new Tacking Fuel Poverty Plan but warns more actions is necessary

The Welsh Government have published their new Tackling Fuel Poverty Plan following consultation on their draft plan closing in December. This in turn followed an inquiry held by the Senedd’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee into fuel poverty. The Bevan Foundation is pleased to see that some of its recommendations have been taken on board by the Welsh Government.

One of the Bevan Foundation’s primary concerns with the Welsh Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy 2010 was the approach that was used to measure fuel poverty. We were concerned that the approach was a more accurate measure of homes that were expensive to heat rather than a measure of the number of households who were unable to afford to cover their fuel bills due to being in poverty. Whilst the Welsh Government has decided to retain the same measure, the new plan commits to publishing data based on a measure that more accurately reflects the relationship between fuel costs and poverty along side this.

Responding on behalf of the Bevan Foundation, Dr Steffan Evans said:

“The commitment made by the Welsh Government in its new plan to publish fuel poverty data based on the low income high cost measure is a welcome step. It will allow us, for the first time, to regularly review the effectiveness of the Welsh Government’s actions on fuel poverty in easing the pressures faced by the people on the lowest incomes in Wales.”

The Bevan Foundation is concerned however, that some of its other recommendations have not been reflected in the final plan. One such omission is the publication of interim targets against which the Welsh Government’s progress can be measured. Dr Steffan Evans added:

“The latest Welsh Government plan sets out its objectives around fuel poverty until 2035. With more than a decade to go until the end of the period covered by this plan the lack of interim targets is a real concern. We are worried that a lack of such targets increases the risk of Welsh Government action lacking urgency, and that it makes it harder for the Welsh Government to be held to account on the effectiveness of its policies”.

It should be noted that the Welsh Government is due to publish its consultation outcome report and integrated impact assessment in due course to support its plan, which may provide greater clarity around interim goals.

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