For over four years, Campaign Collective has provided the coordination for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.
The Coalition is a broad coalition of over 70 anti-poverty, environmental and health campaigners, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations. Organisations wishing to join the Coalition can find out more online.
In 2022, record rising energy bills saw millions plunged into fuel poverty and the issue dominate the media and political agenda.
Levels of fuel poverty were already on the rise before the Russian invasion of Ukraine led to even higher energy costs. The average household energy bill rose from £1,042 in winter 2020/21 to £1,277 in winter 2021/22 and then to £2,100 in winter 2022/23.
The work of the Coalition has led to the Government providing the biggest financial support package in history, with other campaign wins (such as the banning of forced pre-payment meter installations) also helping homes in fuel poverty.
But the work is not done. Nearly half of low-income households are still living in energy-leaking homes, with campaigners warning the rate of improvements is well below what is needed to lift people out of fuel poverty by a target date of 2030. Over 9 million adults lived in cold damp homes in December 2023 which contributed to worsening public health, pressures on the NHS and excess winter deaths.
In 2022 the Coalition saw higher levels of traffic to the Coalition website, as more people came to use it as a central resource for news and information about fuel poverty. There were over 56,000 web page views from 30,000+ visitors, up from 15,000 views / 7,000 users last year. By far the most popular page was the information about fuel poverty and search engines accounted for the main source of traffic, indicating that the content produced works well when people google for facts and figures on the issue.
In the media, the Coalition has been regularly quoted and such has been the demand for spokespeople on fuel poverty, that the coordinator has also had to undertake media interviews with major news channels, including BBC Breakfast, Sky News and regular appearances on Times Radio, LBC and Talk TV. Overall, 68 news stories were issued in 2022 as well as additional quotes and comments which generated well over 4,000 articles with a circulation / audience of over 1bn.
This means that every UK adult had an opportunity to hear about the work of the Coalition more than 26 times in 2022. Obviously, the reach of coverage featuring Coalition members will mean that what has been reported here is just the tip of the iceberg of cumulative efforts.
Meanwhile the Coalition saw its Twitter following grow and the impact of content reach far and wide. Over 1.1m Twitter users saw Coalition content in 2022, with an engagement rate of 1.91% which is still above average engagement rates for 2019-2022 (usually engagement rates dip as reach increases, but this has not happened).
The Coalition also responded to several consultations and engagement with MPs and Councillors has also picked up. As well as MPs backing the successful #BanForcedPPMs campaign, the Coalition coordinator also worked with the Warm This Winter political team to feed lines and statistics on fuel poverty to Ministers, Opposition Front Bench and wider MPs.
In May the Coalition ran its usual councillor pledge campaign which saw 20 more council candidates pledge to take action on fuel poverty and the leader of the Green Group on Norwich City Council has worked with campaigners to develop a motion on PPMs which launched in January 2023.
Additional funding for the Coalition was secured from the Warm This Winter campaign and as of 1 January 2023, the number of members part of the Coalition stands at over 70, with significant new members in 2022 such as the Good Law Project, Chartered Institute of Housing, Groundwork, Moorlands Climate Action, Save The Children, Repowering London and Uplift coming on board. Reciprocal agreements were also arranged with the Disability Poverty Campaign Group, End Child Poverty Coalition and Stop the Squeeze.