Government is aiming to improve insulation in the Island’s most vulnerable households after receiving a report on fuel poverty.
The report, from the Economic Affairs section of Cabinet Office, estimates that up to 3,500 households – 9.9% of the total – are currently in fuel poverty (measured by the ‘Low Income/High Cost’ definition).
But it adds that levels of fuel poverty are generally lower than in the United Kingdom, as higher incomes and benefits in the Isle of Man offset higher fuel costs.
The report, which was produced at the request of Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK, includes an introduction from the Minister of Policy and Reform John Shimmin MHK.
Mr Shimmin writes:
‘We realise that short term solutions will not bring about lasting change. We are fortunate that oil prices are currently low, but when they increase again, the numbers in fuel poverty will increase once more.
‘The right solution is therefore to reduce the need for heating by improving insulation. Older properties in particular cost more to heat and should be a priority for such insulation work.’
The Minister says the Cabinet Office will work with staff from Housing, Social Security, and Health and Social Care to identify those people most at risk of fuel poverty.
‘We will focus on targeting the most vulnerable in society, especially the elderly and disabled. However, in order to combat the root of the problem, we will prioritise our focus on improving the thermal efficiency of housing stock for this group in order to make lasting change for our communities. We will report back as part of the next budget cycle.’