Fuel poverty

A household is considered to be fuel poor if it has higher than typical energy costs and would be left with a disposable income below the poverty line if it met those energy costs. 

The 2018 fuel poverty statistics indicate that 12.6% of households (81,462) were fuel poor in the Lancashire-14 area, and 12% (62,339) in the Lancashire-12 area; both are higher than the England average (10.9%) but both saw a small reduction in households in poverty in comparison to 2017.

Blackpool (15.2%), Pendle (15.2%), Blackburn with Darwen (14.6%), Burnley (13.6%), Hyndburn (13.1%), Preston (15.1%), Lancaster (13.8%) and Rossendale (11.3%) were in the worst 20% of local authorities in England for fuel poverty. South Ribble had the lowest proportion of fuel poor households (9.3%). Blackpool had the largest number of households who were fuel poor (10,280) in the Lancashire-14 area. In the Lancashire-12 area, Lancaster had the largest number of fuel poor households (8,370). Ribble Valley had the fewest fuel poor households (2,791). Burnley saw the largest improvement with 2.8% fewer households in poverty.

The relative nature of the fuel poverty indicator makes it difficult to isolate accurately the absolute reason for change. The fuel poverty status of a household depends on the interaction between three key drivers: household incomes, fuel poverty energy efficiency ratings (FPEER) and required fuel costs. Factors that affect this are quality of the dwelling eg. insulated or not, age of dwelling, tenure type and household composition. 

There were two main reasons for a reduction in fuel poor households in 2018. Fuel bills for low income households increased more slowly than average, and as a result fewer households are classed as having higher than average fuel costs.  In addition, incomes increased at a higher rate than average for the low income group which resulted in a narrowing of the income distribution and a smaller group of households classed as low income.   

Winter fuel payment statistics 

In Great Britain, the number of people receiving winter fuel payments in 2019/20 totalled 11,351,680 recipients, down by 176,880 (-1.5%) on the 2018/19 figure of 11,528,560 recipients. Over recent years, the number of people receiving winter fuel payments has fallen each year from a peak of 12,710,000 (rounded) in 2010/11. This is attributed to the rise in the women's state pension age which has changed the age of entitlement for winter fuel payments. 

The qualifying age for the Winter Fuel Payment was formerly 60, but from 2010 it began to increase in line with the State Pension age for women (Source: Winter fuel payment statistics for winter 2019 to 2020).

This downward trend is also evident in Lancashire. In winter 2019/20, the total number of people receiving winter fuel payments in the Lancashire-12 area was 239,650. This represents a decrease of 3,700 payments (1.5%) from the previous winter. Wyre (29,060) and Lancaster (27,740) had the largest number of recipients in the Lancashire-12 area, whilst Rossendale (12,540) had the lowest. 

Recipients in the neighbouring Blackpool unitary authority (UA) area (27,570) were the third greatest in the broader Lancashire-14 area, whilst recipients in Blackburn with Darwen (UA) numbered 20,620. The Lancashire-14 total fell by 4,840 (1.7%) over the year to 287,840 recipients.


The dashboard below shows the proportion and numbers of households that modelled as being fuel poor in 2018. Trends and rankings are also displayed. For information about the data, please look at the metadata page.

For help on using these dashboards, please look at our tips and hints (PDF, 454KB).

You can make selections by checking the box; you can put the dashboard into full screen mode by clicking on the double headed arrow in the bottom right hand corner.


Page updated October 2019