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Fuel poverty 'will rise slightly'

The Department for Energy and Climate Change has projected that the number of families in fuel poverty will "increase marginally" over the course of this year.

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How does the government define 'fuel poverty'?

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.

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