Families in fuel poverty set to rise to 9 million


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The Independent Online

The number of families living in fuel poverty is far higher than thought and will rise to more than 9 million over the next five years unless the Government acts, campaigners warn.

They are urging the Government to hand carbon tax revenues, estimated at £4bn a year over the next 15 years, to the homes most at need.

A new report says 6.4 million UK households suffer from fuel poverty – forced to spend more than a tenth of income to keep homes warm – almost a million more than previous estimates.

The figures, calculated by energy efficiency experts Camco, also reveal those in need will hit 9.1 million in 2016.

They have been seized on by campaigners who are launching a campaign to force the Government to act.

The campaign, called the Energy Bill Revolution, was created by Transform UK, a non-profit naking organisation.

Ed Matthew, of Transform UK, said: "More people die every year in the UK from living in a cold home than die on our roads. Millions more struggle to make ends meet in the face of high energy bills. This is a national scandal."

Camco argues that if the Government's annual £4bn carbon tax revenue were recycled to households to spend on energy efficiency measures, it would be enough to bring nine out of 10 households out of fuel poverty.

A petition is being launched today at energybillrevolution.org to raise support for the campaign. It is already backed by more than 50 charities, unions, consumer groups and businesses, including Save the Children, the National Pensioners' Convention, Consumer Focus and the Co-operative Group.

Last week the children's charity Barnardo's said rising energy prices have left the poorest families £450 short of being able to adequately heat their homes.