Over 12 million households (42%) across the UK face fuel poverty this winter, according to predictions from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.
The estimates take into account support announced by the Government so far and are historically reflective of the definitions of fuel poverty used in official statistics.
From the price cap rise on 1 October, the estimates show that 21 million people in around 9 million homes (32%) will be affected this winter. The figures are then set to grow to around 28 million people in 12 million UK households (42%) from January 2023 unless urgent action is taken by the Government.
The figures come as over 110,000 people have already signed the Warm This Winter petition calling for immediate government action.
The petition was only launched last Friday as the Ofgem price cap for this winter was confirmed. The Warm this Winter campaign demands that the government provides more emergency money for people this winter, funding to help everyone cut their bills with better insulation, and rapidly moves the country away from expensive gas and onto cheaper, renewable energy.
The figures come as a new report by University College London’s Institute of Health Equity (IHE) predicts “a humanitarian crisis’ for children stuck in cold homes and reveals the public health crisis fuel poverty will cause.
A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:
The IHE report backs up our worst fears about just how devastating the winter energy bills crisis will be.
The public is clamouring to be kept Warm this Winter and we need to see more emergency money for people this winter, funding to help everyone cut their bills with better insulation, and a rapid move away from expensive gas and onto cheaper, renewable energy.
Without urgent Government action, the impact of rising levels of fuel poverty on our nation will be profound and devastating.
Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation has warned that the next prime minister’s time in office looks set to be dominated by the “terrifying” prospect of the biggest squeeze in living standards for a century.
Tessa Khan, Director of Uplift, which is part of the Warm This Winter campaign, said:
While the leadership candidates fall back on the failed fossil fuel solutions of the past, the public are demanding fresh thinking.
The thousands of people who have signed the Warm This Winter petition are proof that the public want both short term and long term solutions to the fuel poverty crisis.
We need to reject expensive, dirty, fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy and improved energy efficiency of buildings, alongside immediate financial support this winter.
Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action, commented:
Energy producers and suppliers are making record profits from putting up prices to a level that millions will struggle to pay.
The result will be many thousands of deaths in cold damp homes, widespread health crises, cold and hungry children unable to play or do homework, and older people who can’t be discharged from hospital because their homes are not fit to live in.
The present pricing framework is upside down: the poorest customers pay the highest prices. Our Energy For All proposal would reverse this: each household will receive enough energy to cover its basic needs, paid for by higher prices for profligate energy use, and reversing the flow of taxpayers money to fossil fuel profiteers.
The spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition added:
These predictions represent figures we may expect to go on to see reported in official statistics.
The households affected in these numbers all have a real risk of making daily economic sacrifices that compromise their standard of living, with many of them at risk of health complications caused by living in a cold damp home.
Methodology, assumptions and definitions available at https://www.endfuelpoverty.org.uk/price-cap-methodology/.
Regional figures related to this measure will be published in September 2022. Millions more are also set to suffer based on more general measures of fuel poverty and fuel stress used by some academics and campaigners. The latest estimates from the University of York show that on a measure of 10% of income being spent on energy bills the numbers are 54% of households from October rising to 78% of households in January 2023. However, this is not the definition used by the different UK governments.