Rising bills leave poor families £450 a year short

Rising energy prices have left the poorest families £450 short of being able to adequately heat their homes, a report reveals today. Meanwhile the big freeze in the past two weeks has cost each household in the UK an extra £77 in heating costs.

The children's charity Barnardo's criticised the Big Six energy firms for a series of price increases which have left households with the bottom 10 per cent of incomes in England unable to afford to keep their homes warm. They need to spend about £1,165 a year to adequately heat their homes but can only afford to spend £723, creating a £450 "fuel gap", says the charity.

Moneysupermarket.com estimates the energy firms will have raked in an extra £1.6bn in the past two weeks as people turned up the heating during the cold weather. Barnardo's chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: "Families should never have to choose between whether to heat their homes or put food on the table for their children."

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