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Constituencies with highest levels of fuel poverty revealed

The constituencies with the highest levels of fuel poverty have been revealed in a new league table from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition published today.

Over 6.3m homes will be in fuel poverty from tomorrow morning (1 April 2022), following the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, which did little to help end the misery of fuel poverty.

The Coalition has launched a campaign to help people in fuel poverty easily contact their MP on Twitter. Simply tweet your MP today using this easy link: https://tymp.uk/3DckC0m. A petition by National Energy Action has also been launched.

The 10% of constituencies most affected by fuel poverty are mainly urban areas represented by Labour MPs.

But in Stoke-on-Trent Central, Wolverhampton North East, Walsall North, Stoke-on-Trent North, West Bromwich East, West Bromwich West, Stoke-on-Trent South, Birmingham Northfied, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Dudley North and Great Grimbsy, Tory MPs represent over 178,000 households which will be in fuel poverty.

An End Fuel Poverty spokesperson commented:

Constituents will rightly be asking what MPs are doing to help end fuel poverty and the energy bills crisis gripping the country.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have called for urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and investment in a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

Sadly, none of these things were delivered in the recent Spring Statement and the Chancellor has once again ignored those in fuel poverty – including the 14,000 homes in his own constituency.

MPs must demand Rishi Sunak comes back to Parliament at the earliest opportunity and sets out how the Government will help those who will continue to suffer.

Meanwhile, the Energy Saving Trust has provided advice on how households can reduce energy bills.

The organisation suggests that making several small and swift changes, such as turning devices off standby and reducing daily water usage, could enable many people to offset the increase in costs by around a third.

While more support for those in fuel poverty will be needed, for those that are able – or able to access financial support to future-proof their homes – investing in energy efficiency can yield results.

Professional draught-proofing and insulation in preparation for the winter months could lead to a reduction in bills by £405 a year for a semi-detached home. Installing solar panels for a similar property could lead to additional annual savings of around £450 a year.

The full league table of constituencies by fuel poverty is below:

Fuel Poverty by Parliamentary Constituency, 2019 (Official BEIS figures) Fuel Poverty by Parliamentary Constituency, from 1 April 2022 (End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimates)
Parliamentary Constituency Number of households in fuel poverty (2019) Proportion of households fuel poor (%, 2019) Number of households in fuel poverty (from 1 April 2022) Proportion of households fuel poor (% from 1 April 2022) MP Name MP Surname MP Party
Birmingham Hodge Hill                  11,575                      27.4            23,041 54.5% Liam Byrne Labour
Barking                  11,580                      24.0            23,051 47.7% Margaret Hodge Labour
Stoke-on-Trent Central                    9,275                      23.7            18,463 47.3% Jo Gideon Conservative
Wolverhampton South East                    8,956                      23.7            17,828 47.1% Pat McFadden Labour
Walthamstow                  10,479                      23.7            20,859 47.1% Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative
Birmingham Yardley                  10,405                      23.5            20,712 46.7% Jess Phillips Labour
Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough                  10,778                      23.2            21,454 46.2% Gill Furniss Labour
Warley                    8,775                      23.2            17,467 46.2% John Spellar Labour
Birmingham Ladywood                  11,770                      23.1            23,429 46.0% Shabana Mahmood Labour
Manchester Gorton                    9,680                      22.8            19,269 45.5% Afzal Khan Labour
Birmingham Erdington                  10,006                      22.8            19,918 45.5% Paulette Hamilton Labour
Birmingham Perry Barr                    9,248                      22.8            18,409 45.3% Khalid Mahmood Labour
Birmingham Hall Green                    9,550                      22.7            19,010 45.2% Tahir Ali Labour
Bradford West                    8,829                      22.4            17,575 44.6% Naseem Shah Labour
East Ham                  10,819                      22.0            21,536 43.7% Stephen Timms Labour
Bradford East                    9,406                      21.9            18,723 43.7% Imran Hussain Labour
Tottenham                  11,347                      21.8            22,587 43.4% David Lammy Labour
Wolverhampton North East                    8,531                      21.8            16,982 43.4% Jane Stevenson Conservative
Walsall South                    8,688                      21.8            17,294 43.3% Valerie Vaz Labour
Walsall North                    8,852                      21.7            17,621 43.2% Eddie Hughes Conservative
Leeds East                    9,064                      21.6            18,043 43.0% Richard Burgon Labour
West Ham                  12,750                      21.5            25,380 42.8% Lyn Brown Labour
Kingston upon Hull North                    8,932                      21.3            17,780 42.4% Diana R. Johnson Labour
Stoke-on-Trent North                    9,346                      21.1            18,604 41.9% Jonathan Gullis Conservative
Birmingham Selly Oak                    9,210                      20.9            18,333 41.6% Steve McCabe Labour
Leeds Central                  12,738                      20.9            25,356 41.6% Hilary Benn Labour
Edmonton                    9,171                      20.7            18,255 41.3% Kate Osamor Labour/Co-operative
Sheffield Central                    9,838                      20.5            19,583 40.8% Paul Blomfield Labour
Coventry North East                    9,653                      20.4            19,215 40.7% Colleen Fletcher Labour
Croydon North                  11,643                      20.4            23,176 40.7% Steve Reed Labour/Co-operative
West Bromwich East                    7,569                      20.3            15,067 40.5% Nicola Richards Conservative
Leyton and Wanstead                    8,465                      20.3            16,850 40.3% John Cryer Labour
Nottingham East                    9,094                      20.1            18,102 40.1% Nadia Whittome Labour
Rotherham                    7,976                      20.0            15,877 39.9% Sarah Champion Labour
West Bromwich West                    7,623                      20.0            15,174 39.8% Shaun Bailey Conservative
Nottingham North                    8,892                      19.9            17,700 39.6% Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative
Stoke-on-Trent South                    8,090                      19.7            16,104 39.3% Jack Brereton Conservative
Barnsley East                    8,158                      19.7            16,239 39.1% Stephanie Peacock Labour
Manchester Withington                    8,458                      19.6            16,836 39.1% Jeff Smith Labour
Doncaster North                    8,647                      19.6            17,212 39.1% Ed Miliband Labour
Leicester West                    8,667                      19.5            17,252 38.8% Liz Kendall Labour
Liverpool Walton                    8,403                      19.4            16,727 38.6% Dan Carden Labour
Brent Central                  10,324                      19.4            20,551 38.5% Dawn Butler Labour
Blackley and Broughton                    9,219                      19.2            18,351 38.3% Graham Stringer Labour
Birmingham Northfield                    8,805                      19.1            17,527 38.0% Gary Sambrook Conservative
Lewisham East                    8,633                      19.0            17,185 37.9% Janet Daby Labour
Liverpool Wavertree                    8,035                      19.0            15,994 37.7% Paula Barker Labour
Bradford South                    8,227                      19.0            16,376 37.7% Judith Cummins Labour
Middlesbrough                    7,664                      18.9            15,256 37.6% Andy McDonald Labour
Newcastle-under-Lyme                    7,619                      18.9            15,166 37.5% Aaron Bell Conservative
Leeds West                    8,266                      18.8            16,454 37.5% Rachel Reeves Labour
Birmingham Edgbaston                    7,995                      18.8            15,915 37.4% Preet Kaur Gill Labour/Co-operative
Dudley North                    6,661                      18.8            13,259 37.4% Marco Longhi Conservative
Leicester South                    8,792                      18.8            17,501 37.4% Jon Ashworth Labour
Leicester East                    7,659                      18.6            15,246 37.1% Claudia Webbe Independent
Liverpool Riverside                  10,201                      18.5            20,306 36.9% Kim Johnson Labour
Kingston upon Hull East                    7,898                      18.5            15,722 36.9% Karl Turner Labour
Huddersfield                    7,954                      18.5            15,833 36.8% Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative
Newcastle upon Tyne East                    7,693                      18.5            15,313 36.7% Nick Brown Labour
Coventry South                    8,221                      18.4            16,364 36.7% Zarah Sultana Labour
Barnsley Central                    7,384                      18.3            14,698 36.5% Dan Jarvis Labour
Great Grimsby                    7,523                      18.3            14,975 36.4% Lia Nici Conservative
Mitcham and Morden                    7,580                      18.2            15,089 36.2% Siobhain McDonagh Labour

Methodology.

Image: Shutterstock

Is that it? – Reaction to Chancellor’s Spring Statement

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have reacted with growing anger to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement.

A spokesperson for the Coalition commented:

As one MP in the chamber shouted, “is that it?”

The unexpected VAT cut on installing renewable or energy efficiency measures, the increase to Household Support Funds and the promised tax cuts, will no doubt help some people.

However, the fuel poverty crisis gripping this country will affect over 6.3m households from 1 April.

And for these people – including the 2.5m families with children in fuel poverty – there was very little in the Spring Statement.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have called for urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and investment in a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

None of these things were delivered.

Sadly, the Chancellor has once again ignored those in fuel poverty – including the 14,000 homes in his own constituency. He must come back to Parliament at the earliest opportunity and set out how the Government will help those who will continue to suffer.

Commenting on today’s Spring Statement, Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children, said:

 The chancellor is burying his head in the sand. In today’s statement he’s refused to face up to the reality of rising prices or to step in and shield the children hardest hit.

For families on low incomes this crisis has become unbearable. Parents we work with tell us that there’s nothing left to cut back. They’re being forced to skip meals, turn off the heating, and take on unsustainable amounts of debt. Children are going to school hungry because food budgets are stretched so thin.

The measures the chancellor has announced will benefit those on middle and higher incomes most and won’t come to close to closing the gap rising prices have left in family budgets. 

A 5p cut to fuel duty coupled with an increase to the national insurance threshold translates into an additional £18.40 per month for the poorest families, in the context of a real-terms income cut of £55 a month.

And while we welcome the continuation of the Household Support Fund, it’s designed for one-off unexpected costs, so this measure is grossly insufficient when families are facing soaring costs every day.

The government must do more. The best way to support the families who are struggling most is to increase social security payments to match the rate at which prices are increasing.

Dr Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said:

Right now millions of people are paying through the nose to heat homes which are so poorly insulated the warmth shoots right outside.

Cutting VAT on insulation, solar panels and heat pumps is a welcome start to ending that huge waste of energy, helping keep bills down and cut our gas use.

But if the chancellor’s serious about tackling the issue then it can only be the start. We need to see around £10bn of support, part raised by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, for delivering the help families need to install the clean technologies that will get us off gas.

That should include finally fulfilling the full Conservatives manifesto pledge of £9.2bn towards energy efficiency, with more support grants available and greater backing to help the industry train up and deploy the tens of thousands of jobs this area offers.

National Energy Action experts tweeted:

Zero VAT on energy efficiency will make public money go further on schemes

More money for LAs to support households is good, but provision is inconsistent. Would have been better to increase existing energy schemes

Fuel duty cut will help many, but will help richer people most https://t.co/0TjUW5fSJC

— Matt Copeland (@Matt_Copeland1) March 23, 2022


Meanwhile, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation set out why the National Insurance Changes will not benefit those in fuel poverty:

Rise in NICs thresholds is very expensive for a small gain for low income working families and nothing for those with no-one in work.
The Chancellor has chosen to prioritise a tax break for middle and high income households over preventing a real terms cut to benefits

— Dave Innes (@dminnes) March 23, 2022

And the New Economics Foundation explained how the petrol price cut will not help low income households:

A 5p cut to fuel duty is worth less than £2/month for the poorest 10% of households #SpringStatement

— Alfie Stirling (@alfie_stirling) March 23, 2022


More reaction will follow.

Image: Shutterstock

Children set to suffer as energy bills rocket

Sky News has exclusively revealed  new End Fuel Poverty Coalition calculations that show the impact of the energy bills crisis on households with children.

Figures predict that recent rises in energy bills will take the number of households with children in fuel poverty to over 2.5m from 1 April 2022.

The figure exceeds previous calculations and represents the number of children in fuel poverty doubling since 2019.

As a percentage of all households with children, this will rise from 19.4% in fuel poverty in 2019 to an estimated 38.6% after the next Ofgem Price Cap increase which comes in on 1 April 2022.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition predicts that over half (55.7%) of lone-parent households (855,938) will be in fuel poverty from 1 April 2022. The figure is 33.4% for couples with dependent children (1.69m).

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition told Sky News, which first reported on the figures:

The stark reality of life under the Government’s energy bill crisis is clear to see. Among the worst affected will be the most vulnerable, including children.

Expert studies show that living in fuel poverty can have a detrimental impact on children’s health, well-being and even their ability to learn.

The measures already announced by the Government hardly scratch the surface of the support needed.

We need to see a full package of measures to help those in fuel poverty now alongside urgent work to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and move the country to a secure, sustainable, non-fossil fuel based energy supply.

Public Health England report found that cold homes and poor housing conditions have been linked with a range of health problems in children. And a Childhood Trust report found that fuel poverty can also have a number of indirect impacts, such as lower rates of educational attainment in school, and a strain upon young people’s mental health.

Recently, the British Medical Journal reported:

Children growing up in cold, damp, and mouldy homes with inadequate ventilation have higher than average rates of respiratory infections and asthma, chronic ill health, and disability. They are also more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and slower physical growth and cognitive development.

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children, commented:

It is deeply worrying that the number of families in fuel poverty is set to double this spring. These figures show that this year, a child in a single parent family is more likely to experience fuel poverty than not. That simply can’t be right and the UK government must do more to protect families.

We’re already seeing families having to make impossible choices between heating their homes and feeding their children, and parents we work with say they just don’t know what they’re going to cut back on next. A further increase in energy bills will leave even more children living in cold and damp homes, going to bed hungry, and missing out on the opportunities they need to grow and thrive.

The best way of supporting families through this crisis is by making sure benefits keep up with rising costs – but right now, they’re on track for a real terms cut. The UK government must act to support families and make sure benefits increase in line with inflation.

Image: Shutterstock

Revealed: The streets where nearly everyone is in fuel poverty

Areas of the Midlands and Yorkshire have topped an unwelcome league table of fuel poverty.

New data projections from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition reveal that the fuel poverty crisis gripping the country is affecting some areas worse than others.

With the increase in energy bills coming into effect on 1 April 2022, over 6.3m households (27% of homes in England) will wake up in fuel poverty that morning.

In parts of the Bushbury South and Low Hill area of Wolverhampton, the situation is even more severe where 88% of households will be in fuel poverty from 1 April.

But Wolverhampton, which was recognised in the Government’s Levelling Up white paper, is not alone in seeing the vast majority of homes in fuel poverty.

The Washwood Heath area of Birmingham, the Castle & Priory ward of Dudley, the Shelton area of Stoke and the area near Smethwick Galton Bridge in Sandwell will also all see fuel poverty levels soar to over 80% of homes.

Just outside the 80% barrier, come parts of Smallbridge & Wardleworth in Rochdale, Bramley in Leeds, Richmond in Sheffield, Derwent in Derby and Nechells in Birmingham.

While these areas are among the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country, in terms of Parliamentary constituencies Birmingham Hodge Hill (55% of households in fuel poverty from 1 April 2022) tops the league table.

This is followed by Barking (48%), Stoke on Trent Central (47%), Wolverhampton South East (47%), Walthamstow (47%) and Birmingham Yardley (47%).

And in a blow to the Government’s levelling up agenda, “red wall” Tory MPs will be feeling the heat from constituents forced into fuel poverty by prices which were spiralling before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In Stoke Central, where Conservative MP Jo Gideon was elected, the number of homes in fuel poverty has doubled from 9,275 in 2019 to an estimated 18,463 in 2022.

Fellow Tories in Wolverhampton North East (Jane Stevenson MP), Walsall North (Eddie Hughes MP), Stoke on Trent North (Jonathan Gullis MP) and West Bromwich East (Nicola Richards MP) have also seen the numbers of constituents in fuel poverty rapidly increase since the 2019 election. [4]

Rachael Williamson, Head of Policy at Chartered Institute of Housing, said:

The Government’s ambition to ‘level up’ is being undermined by its inaction in meaningfully tackling fuel poverty. We need clear, long-term plans to tackle homes with poor energy efficiency, especially in the private sector, and financial support to address the gap in the meantime. Without this we will see many more households and families plunged into poverty. This was an issue before the invasion of Ukraine but is quickly becoming a real crisis.

Barking & Dagenham remains the local authority with the highest levels of fuel poverty after 1 April 2022 (44.7% of households) and while the West Midlands and Yorkshire continue to dominate the top ten, it is not just cities that suffer.

Around a third of households in market town Kings Lynn and rural West Norfolk will be in fuel poverty (33.8%), as will similar numbers in North East Lincolnshire (33.2%), Herefordshire (32.9%) and Shropshire (32.8%).

On the Chancellor’s home turf, 14,000 households in his constituency of Richmond (Yorks) will be in fuel poverty, with the numbers in wider Richmondshire also among the worst in rural England (32.3%).

Paul Dixon, Rural Evidence Manager at Action with Communities in Rural England, commented:

Rural residents have some of the hardest to heat homes. Additionally, about a million households rely on heating oil which has increased in price by more than three times since the same period last year. Government must recognise and address the particular vulnerabilities of people in this situation.

William Baker, of Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty, said:

Local authorities will need to step up to tackle the tsunami of fuel poverty that will hit them over the next few months. We urge them to take coordinated action across local services, particularly through improving energy efficiency standards, providing income maximisation advice and protecting private rented sector tenants. And the Government must provide them with the resources to do this.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said:

Energy prices were rocketing before the Russian invasion of Ukraine as this data shows. Since 2019 households across the country have been feeling the squeeze as the implications of the  Government’s inaction on fuel poverty have been realised.

Charities and campaigners have been warning for years that fuel poverty is a social justice crisis, a public health emergency and a national security priority, but the Government took little action.

We need to see urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and investment in a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

The Government has talked about this for long enough, but fails to match words with action – the Chancellor’s attempt to provide support for people through a “loans dressed up as grants” scheme is a prime example of this.

Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action added:

Bad housing, profiteering on energy, and government foot dragging on the urgent switch to renewable energy have combined to create a disaster for millions of people.

The icing on the cake is that the pricing system discriminates – through high standing charges and through prepayment meters, poorer households in areas like these pay more per unit than households in better off regions. Just how much injustice and deprivation do they think people will put up with?

Jo Gilbert from Butterfly Energy said:

It’s no longer a question of heating or eating, sadly a large proportion of people can no longer afford to do either. The government needs to stop knee jerk responses and to take long term sustainable action, Rebates on council tax and £200 loans will not remedy this crisis.

Jess Ralston an analyst at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, commented:

Energy efficiency reduces gas demand, shrinking our bills and weaning us further off gas from places like Russia. For the families in this report – many living in places that voted in the Conservatives in levelling up areas at the last election – better insulation is a lifeline against rocketing bills. For our energy system, it’s a shield against volatile fossil fuel supply and prices. If there was ever a time for energy efficiency, it’s now; insulation is the clear winner for lowering bills and improving energy security in the short term.

Ramping up existing schemes that deliver efficiency, like the Energy Company Obligation, is one way to level up homes while levelling down bills. Other policies to get our housing on track for net zero like the boiler upgrade scheme, that gives grants to swap out gas boilers for cleaner alternatives that could be hundreds of pounds cheaper to run this year, could help to isolate British families from the impacts of surging fossil fuels. It really is a no brainer.

For more on the methodology used in this news story, read more here.

Image: Shutterstock

Joint call for action on fuel poverty and fossil fuels cut

Civil society groups – including the End Fuel Poverty Coalition – have called for greater action on fuel poverty and to cut fossil fuels in the Government’s upcoming Energy Independence Plan

37 organisations spanning fuel poverty, social justice and environmental campaigns wrote to the government on 15 March 2022 calling for greater support for vulnerable households and for decarbonisation to help bolster the UK’s energy security in the imminent Energy Independence Plan and Spring Statement.

The joint letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Business Secretary, calls for immediate extra support for households facing huge energy price rises, scaled up measures to reduce our gas use and a shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Measures called for include targeted support that covers the expected rise in energy bills for households on low incomes, long term funding and support for insulation and heat pumps, an expansion of wind and solar energy, and a commitment to rule out new North Sea oil and gas and keep the fracking ban in place.

The letter calls on the government to “ensure the upcoming energy independence plan protects vulnerable households, lowers bills, tackles the climate emergency, addresses air pollution, and gets the UK off gas.”

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G said:

Green homes are the most obvious energy security solution which no one is talking about. Energy security starts at home: this means supercharging a renovation wave to cut energy bills and permanently reduce the exposure of families to volatile international gas markets – boosting energy efficiency and rolling out electric heat pumps. The Chancellor and Prime Minister must seize the moment and push forward an ambitious, long-term plan to support warmer, healthier homes which are cheaper to run.

Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace UK said:

This is a fossil fuel crisis, and new fossil fuels from the likes of fracking or new North Sea oil and gas aren’t going to solve our problems. We can reach true energy freedom and stand up to Putin, but that needs the government to back properly funded measures to support households, accelerate renewables and properly fund home upgrades to reduce our use of gas altogether. Otherwise this risks being yet another plan that props up our dependence on volatile and expensive fossil fuels at just the moment we can least afford it.

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact, Save the Children UK said:

 The cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy prices, is totally unsustainable and is hitting the lowest-income families the hardest.

Parents are telling us that they’re struggling to meet basic needs, leaving them having to make impossible choices between heating their homes and buying clothes for their children, and children are paying the price.  Without action, things are only going to get harder.

In the upcoming Spring Statement, the Chancellor has an opportunity to ease this burden on families by uprating benefits in line with April’s inflation rate, and invest to keep homes warm and bring fuel bills down.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition added:

We’re now seeing the dire consequences of the energy bill crisis come to fruition.

Up and down the country people are scared about how they will make ends meet come 1 April 2022.

A British Medical Journal paper published last week also set out the frightening health consequences for people living in cold, damp homes.

We need greater urgent financial assistance throughout 2022/23 for those in fuel poverty and a long term plan that will rapidly improve energy efficiency of homes across the country.

£3,000 energy bill could leave 8.5 million UK households in fuel poverty 

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has issued a warning today that the energy crisis could leave 8.5 million UK households unable to heat and power their homes.

The group, which represents over 50 organisations, claims that cold homes cost lives and that more frail and older people could die next winter without further action from the Chancellor in his Economic Statement in March.

The campaigners are pleading with the Government to cut bills for the most vulnerable households comes as wholesale prices soar due to Russian invasion of Ukraine – with stark predictions that energy bills across Great Britain could increase to £3,000 per annum. 

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA), commented: 

When energy bills hit £2,000 a year there will be over 6 million UK households in fuel poverty.

Analysts suggest the war in Ukraine could drive average bills to £3,000 per year.

This could leave 8.5 million UK households in fuel poverty, denied a warm safe home.

This is a disaster and inevitably, will lead to more needless winter deaths.

Government must address the scale of the problem and use the upcoming Economic Statement in March to cut energy bills much further for the poorest. It must act now, to protect the most vulnerable, and to save lives.

Age UK, the leading charity for older people, highlight how cold homes threaten the frailest in society and the crisis should prompt a re-think about the adequacy of the UK Government’s support package for those on the lowest incomes.

Age UK’s Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams, comments:  

Energy price rises have pushed older people’s budgets to breaking point, with many going without heating for weeks over the winter. The impact on their health and wellbeing is likely to be devastating, just as it seemed we and the NHS were getting some respite after two years of a pandemic.

The support the Government have announced is nowhere near enough. How are those on the lowest incomes, who already struggle to afford the essentials, going to find an extra £350 to cover their energy bills, on top of all the other increases in the cost of living?

We are really concerned about those using prepayment meters – typically a more expensive way to pay for your energy – and how many will ration and disconnect from their supply.

With further increases expected in the autumn, and uncertainty intensified by the invasion of Ukraine, the Chancellor must do more to help and ensure that those on low and modest incomes can afford to stay warm without worrying sick about their bills.

 The charities say the impacts of cold homes on the most vulnerable people are well known to the UK Government but without more support, the situation will prompt more needless deaths next winter. 

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, concluded: 

Ending fuel poverty is a public health necessity and a national security priority. Based on World Health Organisation modelling, an estimated 80 frail and elderly people die prematurely every day across the UK each winter.

Unless more support can be provided, the scale of these tragic needless deaths will grow and cause even further devastation to other poorer households.

We need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

Notes to editors

Alongside similar unprecedented increases in Northern Ireland, the GB price cap is now being raised from 1st April, a jump of an additional £700 per year to leave the ‘average’ domestic energy bills at £2000, leaving a further 2 million households in fuel poverty. Due to reductions in household incomes, surging energy prices and relatively modest improvements in energy efficiency levels, charities estimate that the number of households in fuel poverty across the UK will increase to 6.3-6.5 million households in total in April, an increase of more than 50% in just over six months. This projection is based on the 10% definition of fuel poverty which gives a realistic picture of the scale of fuel poverty in periods of more volatile energy prices. On 24th February Investec Bank Ltd estimated the price cap on energy prices could spike another 50% in October to more than £3,000 per household following huge gains in the wholesale natural gas and electricity markets.  

Last month the UK Government released new fuel poverty statistics. These statistics do not capture the recently announced huge hikes in energy bills. However despite a long lag in the Government data for England; these new statistics highlighted a lack of progress to meet the UK Government’s statutory fuel poverty commitments with warnings it will take over 60 years for the Government to meet its statutory fuel poverty commitments. 

As well as addressing the worrying lack of sufficient emergency support for the energy crisis, the charities highlight in 2019 the Conservative party manifesto made a welcome commitment to help lower energy bills by investing £9.2bn in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals in England, including £2.5bn for the Home Upgrade Grant Scheme (HUG). HUG is vital as it targets low-income households in the least efficient, private tenure homes which are the most expensive to heat. But to date, less than half of the Government’s 2019 manifesto pledge has been committed. The UK Government also consulted last summer on welcome plans to extend and expand the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Warm Home Discount (WHD) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). They say these proposals were warmly welcomed by key stakeholders, but there has now been a long delay to implement these policies and further hiatus will continue to badly damage the health, wealth and well-being of the poorest households.    

Last winter Public Health England (PHE) warned there is a damaging overlap between the health impacts of living in a cold home and Covid-19. Pre-existing chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and heart disease are also particularly badly affected by a cold home.  

Overall the Coalition and NEA estimate that based on a five year average, between 8000 to 10,000 people across the United Kingdom die prematurely during the winter due to the impact of cold homes. This is based on World Health Organisation modelling that at least 30% of Excess Winter Deaths are attributable to a cold home.

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Global demand to end fossil fuel addiction feeding Putin’s war machine

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has joined hundreds of organisations from dozens of countries in expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people in a collective call on world governments to end fossil fuel production.

The current crisis sees Putin weaponising oil and gas money to threaten livelihoods and fuel terror with escalating violence, underscoring the fossil fuel system’s role in driving conflict.

This war is a fight for Ukrainians’ own freedom, but more broadly, a fight for self-determination worldwide.

The letter — initiated by a dozen Ukrainian climate organisations — recognises that this war is a “grave violation of human rights, international law and global peace” fuelled by the oil and gas money that powers Putin’s war machine.

40% of Russia’s federal budget comes from oil and gas, which also make up 60% of Russia’s exports.

The letter urges governments to use all nonviolent means necessary to stop Putin and his war machine, restore peace, and end this egregious murderous aggression.

Governments must work together to manage transition to a clean and safe renewable energy in a way that is fast and fair.

This also means stopping all trade and ending investment in Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft, Surgutneftegas, LukOil, Russian Coal and others, seeing a cease to all financial services for Russian energy companies operating in the coal, oil and gas sectors.

Commenting on the crisis, a spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said:

The invasion of Ukraine is an obscene act of terror by the Russian state.

Our Members have been warning for years that fuel poverty is a social justice crisis, a public health emergency and a national security priority, but the UK Government took little action.

And the solution to fuel poverty does not lie in fossil fuels.

We now need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

While any further rises to already sky high energy bills are a huge concern to the millions of people facing fuel poverty, any attempts to push all the responsibility for the energy bills crisis onto the Russian invasion does not give the whole picture.

Any pain which is suffered by the British public as a result of increased energy prices is a political decision by the UK Government.

The Government has talked about this for long enough, but fails to match words with action – the Chancellor’s attempt to provide support for people through a “loans dressed up as grants” scheme is a prime example of this.

Historic government data doesn’t show true fuel poverty picture

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented on the latest release of historic fuel poverty data by the Government and its estimates of the levels of fuel poverty today:

Today’s 2020 historic fuel poverty data shows just how significant the Government’s failure to tackle fuel poverty has been.
The impact of measures taken pre-pandemic has barely shifted the dial – and we know very little has been done since 2020 to change the picture.
Indeed, the situation has become much, much worse.
Estimates from charities working in fuel poverty consistently predict that more than 6m households in England are now in fuel poverty – due in part to the energy bills crisis.
We need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition’s latest estimate is that 6.3m households (26.7%) in England will be in fuel poverty from 1 April 2022 as a result of recent price increases.

A briefing from National Energy Action sets out the background to the discrepancies between official data projections and the reality of fuel stress and energy poverty on the ground, while the charity’s analysis suggests the Government is 60 years behind its target to end fuel poverty.

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Coalition reacts to “sky-rocketing” energy prices and “woeful” Government response

Members of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition have been reacting to news of the latest energy price hikes and subsequent Government efforts to partially offset the consequences.

The latest estimates from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition predict that 6.3m households are expected to be in fuel poverty from 1 April 2022 – an increase of 2.1m on previous estimates which took account of the last Ofgem price rise in October 2021.

In addition, a group of civil society organisations have issued a united call for the Government to take further immediate action and a national protest is due to take place in London on Saturday.

Tamara Sandoul, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health:

This has already been a difficult Winter for many households across the UK, with a cocktail effect of higher inflation and higher energy prices. This huge rise in the cost of energy will push many more people into fuel poverty and could put them at risk of health conditions caused by living in a cold home.

The Government also needs a long-term investment strategy into retrofitting homes to make these much more energy efficient and work to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels going forward.

William Baker from Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty:

This announcement couldn’t come at a worse time. It coincides with a substantial increase to National Insurance, will inevitably exacerbate the cost of living crisis many low income households are facing and will increase reliance on food banks and fuel vouchers – already at record levels. We need a comprehensive package of Government support to both address high energy prices and improve the energy efficiency standards of our homes.

Connor Schwartz, climate lead at Friends of the Earth:

The skyrocketing price of gas will now push people into precarious financial positions, and spells disaster for those already struggling to meet the rising cost of heating their home. The government must ensure sufficient support for anyone already finding it hard, or who are at imminent risk, from these hikes.

We need to address the root cause and that means ending the cause of the crisis: reliance on gas. No mistake, this will be a year-on-year problem unless the government is radical now. The best time to invest in renewables and roll out a huge home insulation programme was 20 years ago, governments didn’t do it then, the next best time is right now.

 Mike Thornton, chief executive, Energy Saving Trust:

We know the additional increase to the energy price cap, alongside higher living costs, will be extremely worrying for people across Britain. With the number of households who find themselves in fuel poverty expected to rise, Government must expand on emergency measures to support those most in need.

As well as the need for immediate action and short-term support, the current crisis emphasises the importance of improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock in the long-term. Alongside this, we need to invest significantly in renewable energy – including low carbon heating.  Energy efficiency and more renewables are the best ways to protect everybody against volatile gas prices and rising bills in the long-term.

Tackling the current energy crisis must also go hand in hand with meeting net zero ambitions. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will minimise our exposure to the volatility of the global energy market and shape a greener and more affordable energy future. Alongside many other mission-led organisations, we’re asking for committed Government investment and clear action plans to scale up home insulation and renewable energy so we can be less reliant on gas in the future.

Fuel Poverty Action co-director Ruth London:

The energy market as it stands is not fit for purpose – it does not give people the energy they need to keep healthy, or the security to plan for the future in difficult times.

We’re asking that the government to introduce “Energy for All” – a universal, free amount of energy to cover people’s basic costs like heating, cooking, and lighting.

This would give us all the security we need, taking account of people’s actual needs according to their age, health, and housing.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of National Energy Action (NEA): 

These energy crisis measures are woefully inadequate and will leave those on the lowest incomes and in the least efficient homes in deep peril. 

Government had an exam question: How to protect the most vulnerable from a devastating rise in the cost of energy? While their plans are not without merit, they fail this test by turning away from targeted measures to help the poorest energy consumers. 

We needed deep, targeted support for the most vulnerable. We have shallow, broad measures for all. That simply does not work.

The depth of support is not proportionate to the increases. A household paying by prepayment will still have a £500 increase when you take into account rises from October 2021 and April 2022. 

The rebates on Bills and Council tax are not sufficiently targeted, too small and too complex.

We expect the government will have no choice but to return to the issue of spiralling fuel poverty and another price rise later this year. By then they’ll be playing catch-up and great harm will already have been done.

Ian Preston, director of household energy at the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE):

People are frightened of getting into debt. Someone we support on our advice line contacted us this morning to say they wouldn’t be able to put the heating on anymore. This is going to be the case for millions of people across the country.

We’ve calculated that this energy price increase each month is about the same as a low-income household would spend on groceries in a week. So to pay for the increase is essentially the same as asking them to go without food for a week every month.

We need to literally insulate people from the impact of future energy price increases! If we insulate our homes and buildings well, they’ll become more energy-efficient – there’s a range of measures available for different budgets and we can support people with finding grants.

Members also took to Twitter to express their concerns:

Catastrophic rise in energy prices will not be offset by Government plans

Over 1m more homes in England could be forced into fuel poverty following the latest Government energy cap price rise, despite Government plans announced today.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition predictions come as Ofgem confirmed that the average cost of heating a home will rise from GBP1,277 a year to GBP1,971 – a 54% increase.

The Government has pledged a series of measures to try and support homes in fuel poverty, but campaigners have warned these do not go far enough to offset the rises in energy prices over the last few years. The Chancellor claimed this would be worth GBP350. However, much of this will be repaid through a “heat now, pay later” scheme.

Even taking into account the Government’s promised support, the latest price cap rise will still be 27% – the biggest rise since records began.

It is estimated by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition that this will plunge an additional 1.1m homes into fuel poverty, taking the total now in fuel poverty to 22% of all households in England (c.12.5m people). The final total may be higher due and closer to 26% of all households, due to the “heat now, pay later” nature of Government support.

Since it was introduced in 2017, energy bills have risen 52%, with rises of almost GBP600 (GBP578) being passed onto consumers in the last year alone.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

Today’s catastrophic price cap rise will force hundreds of thousands more households into fuel poverty from April.

The Government’s proposals for support will do little but offset or defer part of the most recent rise.

The reality is that fuel poverty has been increasing at an exponential rate and only a full package to support people – especially the most vulnerable – will be sufficient in the short term.

Longer term, the Government must come good on its promises to help transform housing into safe, warm, energy efficient homes.

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G:

The UK’s exposure to volatile gas markets is fuelling a cost-of-living crisis. While today’s announcements take some edge off the burn, further targeted support for the most vulnerable households is urgently needed to prevent catastrophic outcomes.

Furthermore, without a long-term plan to reduce demand for fossil gas, emergency measures can only act as a sticking plaster. We must also start now towards building a greener, fairer and resilient system as the only long-term solution for preventing future gas crises.

Reaction from other members of the Coalition will follow.

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