According to David Kidney, Energy Minister with responsibility for fuel poverty, the Government has "spent £20 billion helping people in fuel poverty since the year 2000" (it's near the end of the interview).
At 3.5 million, the number of homes in "fuel poverty" in 2006 was significantly higher than it was in 2000 (see graph from DEFRA's UK Fuel Poverty Strategy 6th Annual Report 2008), and that was before prices went really high.
Is it possible that the Government's strategy is not working? Have we wasted a colossal amount of money trying to encourage improvements to energy-efficiency and usage whilst keeping domestic energy prices as cheap as possible? Is fuel poverty a bogus concept that gets in the way of rational energy policy?
Or is £20 billion to make things worse a good return on investment (to use the Government's favourite word for spending)?