Only one European country has a higher proportion of people in fuel poverty than the UK, and that's Estonia.
The damning statistic has been published by campaigning group the Energy Bill Revolution and shows that compared against 27 other European nations, the UK ranks 26th, with the second-highest proportion of people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.
There are more than 5m UK households living in fuel poverty, in that they need to spend more than a tenth of their income to keep warm. And after four of the Big Six energy firms announced winter price hikes, the problem will get worse.Neera Sharma of Barnardo's said: "1.6 million children now endure the misery of growing up in cold homes, which can affect every area of their wellbeing. It's a disgrace that so little action been taken to bring down energy bills, but so little is being done to stop them continuing to rise further for the UK's poorest families."
The charity, along with Consumer Futures, National Energy Action and the Energy Bill Revolution, has written to the leaders of all three main parties, calling on them to act. It believes that investment in super-insulation will end the scourge of fuel poverty and bring down energy bills.
"The Government must tackle this national crisis by channelling funds raised by the carbon tax into making homes warmer," said Ms Sharma.