The Government is "doing everything within its power" to combat fuel poverty, according to a spokesperson for the department of Energy and Climate Change
The spokesman claimed the Energy Companies Obligation scheme, extra funds for energy efficiency programmes and the winter fuel allowance would help those who could not afford to heat their homes.
The Government needs to make fuel efficiency programmes more widely available if it is to tackle fuel poverty, according to experts.
National Energy Action (NEA) chief executive Jenny Saunders called on the Coalition to "invest in old and cold housing":
An estimated 4.5 million UK homes are living in fuel poverty and the Government is not doing enough to tackle the crisis, according to a report.
The UK Fuel Poverty Monitor (FPM) those living in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were more likely to struggle with fuel poverty but they also had greater access to energy efficiency measures.
The average investment on energy efficiency programmes for low income households in England was just £3.52 per electricity customer, compared to £36.48 in Scotland, £31.31 in Wales and £27.55 in Northern Ireland, the report stated.
Homes eligible for assistance with insulation and other energy saving costs were not receiving it because the measures were too costly or potential customers were being asked for a contribution they could not afford, FPM said.
More than two million children are 'growing up cold' in England, according to new figures released today, as a poll suggests that UK parents are sacrificing buying family essentials in order to heat their homes.
The shocking figures from ACE Research for the Energy Bill Revolution show the number of children living in fuel poverty has increased by 460,000 over the past year, a dramatic 26% rise.
The sky high fuel poverty figures are a result of high energy bills, cuts to Government support for the fuel poor and the woeful standards of insulation of Britain's homes.
Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary has said that number of children living in fuel is a "disgrace".
Caroline Flint MP was commenting on figures from the Energy Bill Revolution showing that the number of children living in fuel poverty in England has increased by 26% to 2.2 million in the last year.
“These figures lay bare the full scale of the cost-of-living crisis unfolding in Britain. It is a disgrace that hundreds of thousands of children have been pushed into fuel poverty because of David Cameron’s failure to stand up to the energy companies," she said.
The latest confirmed figures of fuel poverty show that the number of British households in fuel poverty dropped by around 80,000 in 2011 compared with the year before.
The government says this shows that the rate of fuel poverty stayed "relatively stable".
- 2.39 million fuel poor households in 2011, compared with 2.48 million in 2010
The aggregate fuel poverty gap, which measures how much the fuel poor would have to pay to get out of poverty, rose slightly from £1.024 billion to £1.047 billion.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has projected that the number of families in fuel poverty will "increase marginally" over the course of this year.
Figures for previous years have been recalculated using the government's new definition of fuel poverty.
DECC notes that the figures could differ from the above projection, which assumes that the average price for gas an electricity will rise by seven percent in the Autumn.
The government changed the way it defines fuel poverty in July 2013 following a consultation that found that many rich households are technically fuel poor.
- Until July 2013, any household that spends more than 10 percent of income on gas and electricity was defined as being fuel poor.
- The new definition includes only households where total income is "below the poverty line" and where "energy costs are higher than typical".
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said that the old definition meant that even the Queen could be considered to be fuel poor because of the high cost of heating her estates.
But energy campaigners have accused the government of trying to mask the problem of rising fuel poverty.