Fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is the problem faced by households living on a low income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost. The updated Fuel Poverty Sustainable Warmth strategy was published in February 2021 .

A new fuel poverty metric Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) was set out in the strategy. The LILEE indicator considers a household to be fuel poor if:

  • it is living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D, E, F or G as determined by the most up-to-date Fuel Poverty Energy Efficiency Rating (FPEER) Methodology; and
  • it is disposable income (income after housing costs (AHC) and energy needs) would be below the poverty line.

The latest government Fuel Poverty Factsheet summaries the headline figures of fuel poverty in England in 2019.

The winter 2019 (latest) fuel poverty statistics indicate West Midlands had the highest proportion of fuel poor households (17.5%) and South East the lowest (7.5%). In comparison, 14.2% of households (92,810) were fuel poor in the Lancashire-14 area, and 13.7% (71,822) in the Lancashire-12 area; both are higher than the estimated 13.4% of households (3.18 million) in fuel poverty in England.

Pendle (17.3%), Burnley (16.4%), Blackburn with Darwen (16.4%) and Blackpool (16.3%) had the highest proportion of fuel poverty in the Lancashire-14 area. South Ribble (10.8%) and Fylde (11.2%) had the lowest proportion of fuel poor households.

Blackpool had the largest number of households who were fuel poor (11,066) in the Lancashire-14 area. In the Lancashire-12 area, Preston had the largest number of fuel poor households (9,181) and Ribble Valley had the fewest fuel poor households (2,978).

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. 

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 June 2021