Fuel poverty could affect an extra 300,000 households this winter

Pound signAround 300,000 households could face fuel poverty in the next few weeks thanks to the continued rise in energy prices.

Fuel poverty has been defined as a household spending more than 10% of income on heating, and the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group’s tenth annual report predicts that this will apply to around nine million people by 2016.

It also shows that energy prices rose by 7% in 2012, with the average energy bill at £1247. In the case of oil, at the start of December average prices are virtually unchanged from a year ago – see prices and margins 2012, page 6 of the January issue.

The group calls for the government to use the carbon tax revenue for the benefit of low income households, and to provide a more coherent strategy to combat fuel poverty, including making homes more energy efficient.

“With a cold winter, welfare reforms cutting incomes, and all at a time of austerity measures and other rising household costs, the plight of the fuel poor has never been more serious,” Derek Lickorish, chairman of the FPAG, told the BBC.

“A toxic cocktail of rising wholesale prices, the high cost of energy reforms and cuts in incomes for many households means fuel poverty levels are set to sky rocket without radical action,” he added.

Read the report

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