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Fuel Poverty


A family is defined to be in "Fuel Poverty" if they are spending more than 10% of their income on fuel. It's a curious definition, but that's what it is. Fuel poverty affects quite a large number of people in the UK. One of the reasons for this is of course the high tax on fuel. Another reason is the shockingly cold and inclement weather in the UK, which together with the extraordinary high price of fuel, puts many people into that class termed "fuel poverty".

It's a term invented around the zero-zeros decade, and was quite fashionable for a time.

What's to be done about it? Well, it could be argued that one of the things being done is to increase global warming, making the country hotter, and so reducing the need to burn lots of expensive fuel. However, this is a completely false argument, as global warming may actually make the UK colder! It will result in a radical reshuffling of the climates, and if you notice on a globe how close the UK is to the North Pole, it could result in Manchester being around the temperature as Moscow, which is around the same latitude. Also, global warming tends to increase water levels, resulting in flooding, resulting in extra expenditure on sandbags, although government spin would state that sandbags don't count as fuel. Of course, if the government can get people to spend more than 10% of their income on sandbags, then the people could be classed as in "sandbag poverty" and the government might try to levy a tax on sandbags.

Being more sensible, improving house insulation is a good way to reduce fuel poverty. This is practical, and could be widely implemented. Double glazing, despite its previous marketing sins, is actually a sensible fuel-saving measure. Loft insulation is also good, as heat rises, and a poorly insulated loft is where it escapes. You can guess who's got the worst heat wastage through their loft, as theirs are the houses with snow melted on the roof before everyone else's!

Also, such practical ideas as Energy-Saving Lightbulbs, and having an econometer, both in the car and in the house, again to save energy and to save fuel.

Another way to reduce fuel poverty is to increase the amount of wealth. This may sound obvious, but it would achieve the required effect. However, it's harder to get rich in a country which has such a high taxation system than if it were more reasonable.

This brings another interesting idea: If FUEL POVERTY can be defined as "spending more than 10% of your income on fuel", how about defining a new term "TAX POVERTY" which is "spending more than 10% of your income on tax". Now that's interesting, because fuel is traditionally regarded as something that you get value for, for example to keep yourself from freezing to death because of the climate. Tax, on the other hand, is regarded as something that you don't get value for, as most of it is wasted by the government.

Meanwhile, on the problem of old people dying of cold because they've turned the heating off, here are some helpful ideas: Save Yourself from Cold