Fuel poverty data is at odds with the current cost of energy crisis

24 February 2022, Tamara Sandoul

CIEH has today commented on the latest release of England’s fuel poverty data by the Government and the levels of fuel poverty experienced by people today.

Official statistics for 2020, the most recent year for which figures are available, show that 13.2% of households were in fuel poverty – even before rising energy process hit. Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) estimated that soaring increases mean the cost of heating an average home will have doubled in 18 months and the number of households in fuel poverty across the UK will increase to 6.5 million in April, an increase of more than 50% in just over six months. 

Living in fuel poverty and in cold homes has an impact on people’s health, particularly, increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions as well as mental health problems. Higher fuel poverty rates will put an additional strain on an already stretched NHS and social care services.

 

Energy increases are likely to affect the most vulnerable households more severely. Fuel poor households tend to live in less efficient properties than the general population, which means that their energy cost increases are likely to be higher than the average. People on pre-payment meters are also often charged higher rates for their energy.

Dr Phil James, Chief Executive of CIEH has said:

“The historic data on fuel poverty released today bears little resemblance to the current picture on the numbers of people in fuel poverty, due to the current energy crisis. Estimates suggest that the levels of fuel poverty will increase by around 50% in just over six months – to 6.5m households by April 2022.

Living in a cold home has a serious impact on people’s health, especially the elderly and children, who are more likely to develop respiratory and heart problems as a result. An increase in ill-health would therefore have a knock on effect on capacities in an already stretched NHS.

To tackle fuel poverty, we would like to see a major drive to bring up energy efficiency of the coldest homes and more support for households in the short term, to enable them to deal with the effects of the rise in energy prices.”

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