A new definition of fuel poverty in Scotland: review of recent evidence

A report by a panel of independent experts who conducted a review of the definition of fuel poverty in Scotland.

A note on terminology

Boardman's original definition of fuel poverty is different from the Boardman- based definition which later featured in the first UK Fuel Poverty Strategy. Her definition focused on actual energy spend:

"[A Fuel poor household is] are unable to obtain an adequate level of energy services, particularly warmth, for 10 per cent of its income" (Boardman, 1991).

The first UK Fuel Poverty Strategy used a definition based on required energy spend i.e. the energy needed to provide an acceptable standard of warmth, lighting and appliance use in the home, even if this level of energy use was not actually attained by the household:

" A fuel poor household is one which needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all fuel use and to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth" ( DEFRA, 2001).

In this Review, we refer to the Boardman definition on many occasions. It is a term familiar to most stakeholders. But we use it to refer to the form of her definition which was adopted in the 2001 UK Fuel Poverty Strategy; at the time of this Review's publication, this is still the accepted definition of fuel poverty in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


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