Fuel poverty and the Warm Homes Programme



Closeup of a lit gas hob




In October 2021 an estimated 200,000 Welsh households are fuel poor with a further 153,000 at risk of fuel poverty.


In light of this the Equality and Social Justice Committee undertook a short inquiry into fuel poverty and the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Programme, ahead of the new programme coming into place in 2023.


Terms of reference


The terms of reference for the inquiry were to examine:

  • What are the main lessons learned from the Welsh Government’s current Warm Homes Programme?
  • How can these lessons help shape the next iteration of the Warm Homes Programme to ensure that it better supports those living in, or at risk of, fuel poverty? In particular:
    • what should the eligibility criteria for home energy efficiency measures be, 
    • should the area-based approach to tackling fuel poverty (Arbed) continue,
    • what specific support should be made available to meet the challenges associated with rural fuel poverty?
    • how can private sector landlords be encouraged to tackle fuel poverty amongst tenants?
    • how can any successor scheme(s) better advance equality and social justice considerations?
  • How can the Welsh Government ensure that the next iteration of the Warm Homes Programme better aligns with its efforts to decarbonise Welsh housing?

Evidence gathering


The Committee held a consultation and received fourteen responses. The Committee also held oral evidence sessions with stakeholders including think tanks, charities, and industry experts on the following dates:


·         7 February 2022

·         14 February 2022

·         7 March 2022

·         21 March 2022


A series of one-to-one interviews were held with social and private tenants, private landlords and owner occupiers who either had experience of the Warm Homes Programme or were in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. A summary of findings was published in March 2022. Watch Jon and Michelle who shared their experiences of the impact of fuel poverty as part of the inquiry.   


The Committee laid its report on Wednesday, 18 May 2022.


On publication, Chair of the Committee, Jenny Rathbone MS, issued a media response and said:


“Fuel poverty is now a national crisis with high energy prices, particularly for gas, rising continuously.  If the Welsh Government is serious about helping people in fuel poverty this winter, it needs to adopt some emergency measures to improve the warmth of badly insulated homes that families can’t afford to heat.” Read the media release in full.



Welsh Government response


The Committee received a response from the Welsh Government on 7 July 2022.


A debate was held in Plenary on 21 September 2022.

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

First published: 09/12/2021