Some of the poorest families in Britain are being hit by the largest increases in energy bills, with regional suppliers criticised for charging whatever they can get away with.
Prices differ between regions by up to £92 a year and some of the highest costs hit areas with the most unemployment, a study found. People in Merseyside and North Wales are charged the most for energy, with a typical annual bill coming in at £1,373, compared with £1,281 in the cheapest region – northern Scotland,
Mark Todd, the director of Energyhelpline.com, which released the figures, said: "It is difficult to explain the reasoning behind these regional price variations, other than the fact that regional suppliers charge what they think they can get away with." Earlier this week, the North-West of England was named as the area hit facing the highest rise in joblessness. Unemployment in the region climbed by 8,000 in the last quarter, despite the national average dropping 51,000, the Office for National Statistics said.
The cheapest regions after northern Scotland were the East Midlands (£1,291), London (£1,293), southern England (£1,294) and the South-East (£1,294), acording to Energyhelpline.