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Written Statement - Fuel Poverty Data Linking Project

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

In February, I announced that the Welsh Government is investing £104m over the next 4 years in the Warm Homes Programme to increase the energy efficiency of up to 25,000 homes across Wales.

Investing in home energy efficiency improvements delivers multiple benefits. It reduces household energy bills, reduces energy use and carbon emissions, creates employment and business opportunities in the local supply chain, and improves the health and well-being of the households supported.

We know that living in a cold home can have a significant impact on the health of occupants. By making homes warmer, we are making a long term improvement to health and wellbeing and in doing so, reducing the burden on our public services.

In October we published an Emerging Findings Report on the Fuel Poverty Data Linking Project, which uses anonymously linked data to explore the impact of home energy efficiency measures installed through the Warm Homes Programme on the health of recipients. The emerging findings indicated a positive impact on health and noted that a more complex analysis would follow in the next report.

Yesterday, we published the latest report.

The findings are very encouraging. They include:

  • A significant positive effect on respiratory health with a 3.9% decrease in the average number of respiratory GP Events for those receiving Nest measures, compared with a 9.8% increase in the average number of events for the control group for the same period.
  • A similar pattern was found for asthma GP events, with a 6.5% decrease in those receiving measures, compared with a 12.5% increase in the control group.
  • The data suggests a 'protective effect' on rates of prescribing for infection, with a smaller increase in the average number of prescriptions for infection for those receiving measures.
  • The data also suggests a positive impact on emergency hospital admissions for both cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

This research shows the Warm Homes Programme is helping to prevent cold related health problems, with a knock on reduction in the use of our healthcare services. This makes a strong contribution to our goals of a Healthier, more Equal and more Prosperous Wales.

The findings support our decision to extend the eligibility criteria for a new Nest scheme to include householders on low incomes who have a respiratory or circulatory condition, in addition to those in receipt of a means tested benefit.

Work on the Fuel Poverty Data Linking project will continue and I look forward to sharing future findings with you. These will include comparing admissions for two years before and after installation, looking at additional health conditions, a comparative analysis of the health impacts of the Nest and Arbed schemes, and the impact of the Nest scheme on educational attainment.

The latest report can be found at the following link:

gov.wales/docs/caecd/research/2017/170404-fuel-poverty-data-linking-project-findings-report-1-en.pdf