2.28m British households now living in fuel poverty

 

Personal Finance Editor

More than one in 10 English households is now living in fuel poverty, Government figures show.

The latest statistics published today – which date back to 2012 – show that in 2.28m properties people are struggling to be able to afford to heat their homes.

The figures show that the number of homes in fuel poverty fell by almost five per cent over the year but the Department of Energy and Climate Change predicts that the number will climb by 2014 to 2.33m.

Also the figure looks comparatively low as the Government has changed its measure for fuel poverty to take into account households with both high energy bills and low incomes.

Under the old measure, which included everybody who had to spend more than 10 per cent of their income to heat their homes properly, some 4.5m English households were in fuel poverty in 2012, a huge increase on the 3.2m homes in fuel poverty in 2011 and almost double the number included in the new measure.

Charities slammed the Government for its lack of real action in tackling the scandal of fuel poverty leaving many people being forced to choose between heating or eating because of rising energy bills each winter.

That in turn is a major factor in the 31,000 "excess winter deaths" in England and Wales, said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director for Age UK.

She pointed out that the health implications of living in cold homes are well established, ranging from cardiovascular and respiratory disease to depression, at an estimated cost to the NHS of £1.36bn a year.

“No older person should worry that they could die from the cold in their own home,” she said. “Fuel poverty has harmed our population, older people especially, for far too long. We want a permanent solution and we believe it is within our grasp, if there is the necessary imagination and political will.”

The charity is calling for an ambitious energy efficiency programme to bring housing up to standard. 

It says such an infrastructure programme could lift nine out of 10 homes out of fuel poverty as well as greatly reducing people’s bills.

“The UK has among the worst insulated housing stock in Europe and a shameful record on fuel poverty – nearly a million older people can’t afford to heat their homes adequately and many millions more are struggling to pay their energy bills,” said Ms Abrahams.

Sophie Neuburg, Friends of the Earth fuel poverty campaigner said: “It’s completely unacceptable that millions of people across Britain are still struggling to pay their bills.

“With more fuel price hikes expected in future, a comprehensive, publicly funded energy efficiency programme to insulate every low-income home in the country is urgently required. 

“Slashing energy waste would not only save households hundreds of pounds every year, it would also create jobs, tackle climate change and reduce our reliance on overseas fossil fuels.”

Meanwhile struggling households are on average £443 short of being able to afford their heating and lighting bills, the statistics show.

Those living in private rented accommodation continued to have the highest rates of fuel poverty.

Across England, 10.4 per cent of homes were classed as fuel poor, while regionally the West Midlands had the highest levels of people struggling with bills, at 15 per cent.

The lowest was the South East with eight per cent.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on