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Expert appointed to lead independent Fuel Poverty Review

The Government has appointed an expert who will lead an independent review of the government’s fuel poverty targets.

Professor John Hills, an expert in social policy, has been appointed by energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne to the review, which will analyse how the government should define and measure fuel poverty. A household is currently classed as being in “fuel poverty” if it would need to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to keep their home warm enough.

According to the latest figures suggest that in 2010, 4M households were in fuel poverty in England.

The independent review has been asked to look at fuel poverty from first principles, what causes it, its affects and how best to measure it. If appropriate based on initial findings, it will identify and consult on options for alternative definitions and associated forms of target. A call for evidence to help shape the review has been launched.

Huhne said: “The Government is committed to help people, especially the vulnerable, heat their homes more affordably. Professor John Hills will bring insight, authority and understanding to the role of the independent reviewer. I have asked him to report back to me with his final findings early next year.”

Professor Hills, who is the director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, said: “Many households have been under pressure from their heating bills this winter, some severely so because of their particular needs or difficulties in keeping their homes warm.

“It is crucial that we measure the scale of the problem and trends in it accurately. I am looking forward to reviewing the evidence on the underlying issues that lead to fuel poverty and on how well the current measure reflects the problems involved and the effectiveness of policies to counter it.”

Hills will publish interim findings in the autumn.

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