The public has been asking for a long time now, that something be done to reduce the scandalous number of people living in fuel poverty, which is defined as "the need to spend more that 10% of household income to maintain 21°C for the main living area and 18°C for other rooms".
And bless them, the kind and warm hearted people at the coalition have done just that. There’s no messing about, either, when it comes to GeorgeOsborne and Danny Alexander.
The new situation will remove 800,000 families from fuel poverty overnight.
AND Gideon the Red Faced Chancellor and Danny the Red Haired Chief Secretary are giving this generous Yuletide gift from the generosity of their little hearts, it will be in place BEFORE Christmas, and it won't cost any of us a brass bean!
YES, you hear me aright. Praise be. The spirit of Christmastide is upon even the stony hearts of the Condemns!
What, I hear you ask, are our beneficent benefactorial betters planning to do to make the lives of the pauper class a little less intolerable?
Are you sitting comfortably? Well then, I'll tell you.
They are going to REDEFINE fuel poverty.
Genius or what?
Yes, from sometime in December, fuel poverty will be redefined to where households’ “required fuel costs are above average, and where, were they to spend that amount they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line”.
According to MPs the new definition will move more 800,000 households out of fuel poverty in England (no one bothered to count Scotland as no one really cares that much, I suspect. Maybe it’s harder to vote YES, if you have frostbite?).
The logic of this is that many poor households being far smaller than average, cost less than average to heat. This means that even if heating costs a significant part of their income, a household still won't technically be “fuel poor” (and entitled to the attendant benefits) because the amount it needs to spend to keep warm is still below average.
They’ll just starve to death instead.
A slight flaw in selling this as an improvement in conditions for the criminally poor is that freezing to death is relatively painless after the first few hours. Hypothermia is, in fact, one of the nicer ways to die.
Starvation, on the other hand, is deeply unpleasant.
Still, given that the Condemns are at the heart of this, you'd expect a flaw here or there, and if you're poor you can’t have everything!