This Preliminary Review Defining Fuel Poverty in Northern Ireland, was commissioned by the Department For Social Development Northern Ireland in August 2010. It comprises the first of three independent Reviews of Fuel Poverty being carried out in different parts of the UK. The Review argues that, whilst the links between the Definition of Fuel Poverty and the 2001 Fuel Poverty Strategy remain strong, links between Definition/Strategy on one side and Policies/Implementation on the other are extremely weak. This has rendered the system as a whole inherently unstable and is largely responsible for a variety of recent disappointments such as missed targets and misdirected resources. Whilst escalating energy prices have ultimately caused the Strategy to unravel, the loose association between Strategy and Implementation exposed an already weakened system to a formidable stressor.The Review makes clear that fuel poverty is a multi-dimensional concept with several different causes, and many different impacts. A variety of indicators are, therefore, needed to do it justice, and the Review recommends the introduction of an additional indicator specific to Northern Ireland. This is because issues surrounding the 10% needs to spend threshold are acutely problematic for Northern Ireland. Through combining: • a local threshold • a severity index and • an affordability indexit will be possible to set goals and monitor progress on tackling fuel poverty more precisely, whilst maintaining a close watch on energy prices and issues related to Northern Ireland’s reliance on oil for heating. The Preliminary Review ends with a list of References and Summary Tables of Recommendations.
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|Published (in print/issue) - May 2011