Fuel poverty statistics reveal households hit hard by energy bills crisis

New data published by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has revealed that a surge in the numbers of households spending more than 10% of their income on energy in England.

The number of households who are required to spend more than 10% of their income after housing costs on domestic energy has risen to 36.4% of households (8.9 million households) up from 27.4% in 2022 (6.7 million).

Meanwhile, the average fuel poverty gap (which measures the additional money a household would need to be lifted out of fuel poverty) has increased by 66% between 2020 and 2023 in real terms, due to rising energy prices.

E3G UK energy lead, Juliet Phillips, explained that for those already in fuel poverty, things have got significantly harder:

“It is shameful that in a country as wealthy as England, so many households cannot afford to heat their homes to a healthy and comfortable level. New statistics show that no progress has been made in reducing fuel poverty rates in the past year, and that for those struggling to pay their energy bills, things have gotten a lot worst.

“We have seen a concerning inertia from the government over the last year on action to upgrade homes. This included a U-turn on the planned increase in energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector, and a significant under-delivery of the retrofit schemes designed to alleviate fuel poverty.

“If the UK is to have any chance of meeting its statutory target to end fuel poverty by 2030, a long-term plan is needed to rebuild confidence in supply chains: backed by investment and regulations to drive action to deliver warmer homes across the country.”

The statistics also show that households in the private rented sector are at the highest risk of fuel poverty. This follows Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on the planned uplift to minimum efficiency standards in the sector last year.

Jonathan Bean, spokesperson for Fuel Poverty Action, commented:

“Fuel poverty rates are highest in private rentals so the Government’s lack of commitment to improved standards will continue to harm millions.

“In addition, electric-only homes have the highest fuel poverty rates due to the four times higher price of electricity compared to gas, due to our rigged energy market which the Government and Ofgem have failed to reform.

“It is time to admit Government and Ofgem policies have completely failed, and a more radical solution to fuel poverty is needed – Energy For All.  This would eradicate fuel poverty now, rather than allowing millions to suffer in cold damp homes for another decade.”

The statistics show that there were an estimated 13.0 per cent of households (3.17 million) in fuel poverty in England under Ministers’ preferred measure of fuel poverty, known as the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) metric in 2023. This number is effectively unchanged from 13.1 per cent in 2022 (3.18 million).

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition explained the limitations of this metric:

“Even these terrible figures don’t paint the true picture of the suffering in households across the UK.

“They exclude millions of homes in certain energy performance categories, fail to take into account soaring energy costs and also don’t include many people who actually get a Warm Home Discount to help with their bills.

“The reality is that household energy debt is at record levels, millions of people are living in cold damp homes and children are suffering in mouldy conditions.

“The wider impact of high energy bills is also clear to see with households having to cut back on spending so much that the UK has now entered a recession.”

Nearly 1 in five households in the West Midlands are classed as fuel poor. Meanwhile, in the South West, it would take an extra £634 to lift homes out of fuel poverty.

The latest National Energy Action (NEA) Fuel Poverty Monitor, developed with Energy Action Scotland and Gemserv, highlighted over 3 million UK households could be left in fuel poverty by the end of the decade, despite a legal requirement for no households in England to be living in fuel poverty by 2030.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of National Energy Action, added:

“At this rate, the government will miss its 2030 legal fuel poverty target by a country mile and millions will be stuck unable to afford to keep their homes and their families warm and well.”

New polling by YouGov for NEA shows that three in 10 (30%) GB adults say their household has found it difficult to afford to pay their energy bills in the past three months.

This has driven many to drastic ‘not coping strategies’ with 59% of British adults saying they had turned their thermostat down lower than they wanted, while 52% turned their heating off, even though it was cold inside the house.

Public priced out of essential warm home measures

Nearly four in 10 UK households (39%) say they cannot afford to insulate their homes, according to new data commissioned by the Warm This Winter coalition, prompting campaigners to demand the government urgently refocus its efforts on boosting energy saving measures.  

Half of all Londoners (50%) say that they cannot afford energy efficiency measures, the highest in the country, followed by households in Wales (46%) and Yorkshire and Humber (45%).

And the UK has some of the leakiest homes in Europe, with the majority rated EPC Band D or below and around a fifth of homes have no roof insulation, leaving consumers paying higher energy bills for colder homes.

Analysis shows that it would take 190 years to upgrade the energy efficiency of the UK’s draughty housing stock at the current rate of the government’s flagship programme, the ‘Great British Insulation Scheme’, which installed just over 1,000 energy efficiency measures between March and October 2023. 

Upgrading inefficient homes to EPC band C would collectively save consumers £24 billion on their energy bills by 2030.

It would also give the UK more energy independence as insulation lowers the amount of gas required to heat homes, and gas will increasingly come from abroad as the North Sea continues its decline. Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho has conceded that the Government’s new Oil and Gas Licensing Bill won’t bring down energy bills. 

Tessa Khan, executive director of Uplift, commented:

“This government is obsessing over oil and gas drilling, which will do absolutely nothing to lower bills, while progress on energy efficiency, which is the quickest and cheapest way to keep people warm this winter, has slowed to a crawl.

“Ministers need to realise that millions of people cannot afford to insulate their homes and that, by turning its back on them, it is condemning people to live in cold homes.

“The more the temperature drops, the more enraging it is to watch this government waste time and effort trying to wring the last drop of gas from the North Sea, when saving energy would help people so much more.”

The start of this year saw energy bills increase by a further £94 for the average household.  A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition added:

“While households struggle in cold, damp, mouldy homes and struggle to pay their bills, Ministers are sitting on their hands.

“They refused to introduce an Emergency Energy Tariff for vulnerable households and have refused to set up an industry wide scheme to help people repay their energy debts.

“Instead, they have allowed energy firms to restart using the courts to force households onto prepayment meters and have now ruled out reform to energy tariffs to help those most in need. 

“What we need to see is urgent action on energy bills and the cost of insulation. But Ministers would rather play politics with a ridiculous Oil & Gas Licensing Bill that will do nothing to improve energy security or lower bills.”


Opinium conducted a nationally representative survey among 2,000 UK Adults from the 24th – 28th November 2023 or 20th – 24th October 2023. Results were weighted to be nationally representative.

Customers to see energy bills soar from 1 April

Despite the Ofgem price cap falling today, customers will see energy bills rise by 43% for the average household from 1 April 2023.

Under the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, the level of support for all households will fall at the same time that the Energy Bills Support Scheme also comes to an end.

Over 70 charities and campaign groups have now called on the Government to scrap the energy bills hike, paid for by the estimated £11bn underspend in the Energy Price Guarantee budget.

The Ofgem energy price cap was £4,279 in January but it will drop to £3,280 in April because of falling wholesale prices. Under the Government support packages, the average household bill has been £2,100 but this will rise to £3,000 from 1 April.

And contained in the small print of the Ofgem announcement is further bad news for some consumers.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, explained:

Not only will people’s bills actually go up from 1 April, but the Ofgem announcement today contains a sting in the tail for some households who do not pay by direct debit.

Households on pre-payment meters will continue to pay more for their energy with those on standard credit and Economy 7 tariffs also being hit. [1]

In addition, we have seen some regions pay significantly more for their electricity than others [2] and standing charges will increase for everyone by almost 10% [3] caused by the complex nature of Britain’s broken energy system.

This means some people will still pay even more, even if they use less energy.The Government must act to ensure that bills don’t go up, while also setting out a path to reform the energy market.

As prices soar, Greenpeace has also warned typical UK home could miss out on savings of £1,800 every year on their energy bills by the end of this decade unless the government ramps up plans to roll out insulation, and heat pumps. [4]

To help the public understand more about their potential savings, the charity has launched an Affordable Energy Calculator in partnership with Cambridge Econometrics at https://affordableenergycalculator.org/.

Georgia Whitaker, Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:

Britain’s homes waste more heat than any in Western Europe. We can’t afford to carry on wasting energy like this in a cost of living crisis. Greener homes would keep communities warm and healthy and save us all money.

We need the government to support home improvements like insulation and heat pumps to lower bills, boost the economy, and help the UK reach our climate goals. Heating our homes really shouldn’t cost the earth.

Our Affordable Energy Calculator shows how much individuals and communities across the UK could save if the Government commits to invest in our homes in the upcoming Energy Bill.

Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action, commented:

Public anger is intense and support is growing for a whole new system, Energy For All.

This would mean no standing charges, a free band of essential energy so that no one freezes to death with excess energy use charged at a premium.

This would be funded by windfall profits and end to fossil fuel subsidies with accelerated energy efficiency and renewables expansion to reduce cost of the proposals.

[1] Standard credit +6.2%, Economy 7 +4.1%, PPM +1.4% (source Ofgem letter p3)
[2] For example, electricity in North Wales & Mersey is 6.7% more expensive than in the East Midlands (Ofgem default tariff cap level document, based on direct debit payment and standard average use on single point meter).
[3] Based on dual fuel, direct debit increase 9.7%, Standard Credit 9.4% and PPM 7.8% (Ofgem default tariff cap spreadsheet table 1b, column BO compared to BP)
[4] This figure was calculated using the most common dwelling type (owner-occupied, three bedroom, semi-detached) in England and Wales, according to ONS data*, with the most common characteristics (eg condensing gas boiler central heating) for that type of dwelling. This type of dwelling would see a £1,832 reduction per year, or 64.7%. The number is not a mathematical average of all UK homes. Other dwelling types show similar savings in percentage terms, so a one bedroom council flat would see a £606 reduction (59.5%) and a four bedroom detached house would see a reduction of £3,579 (64.9%).



Mini-Budget minimal on help for those in fuel poverty

As the Chancellor unveiled his mini-Budget, there was little immediate support for households in fuel poverty. However, some positive moves on energy efficiency and renewables have been given a qualified welcomed by campaigners.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

The Chancellor’s mini-Budget was especially minimal on the support needed to keep people warm this winter.

Even with the measures pledged by the Government so far, there is now just a week to go until energy bills increase by 64% compared to last winter.

The start of the Chancellor’s ‘new era’ will see 7 million households left facing desperate fuel poverty this winter.

Millions of people will spend the winter struggling in cold damp homes. This will cause health problems for many and place more strain on the NHS and social care system.

Millions will face additional hardship due to the unfair standing charges regime and being forced onto more expensive pre-payment meters.

Hidden away in the small print of the Chancellor’s Plan for Growth is an announcement to expand the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – which requires energy companies to install energy saving measures in fuel poor homes – with a £1bn boost over three years, starting from next April.

The new funding will be targeted at those most vulnerable, and made available for the least efficient homes in lower council tax bands. In addition, the government will also ‘imminently open applications for up to £2.1 billion over the next two years to support local authorities, housing associations, schools and hospitals invest in energy efficiency and renewable heating.’

While the ECO expansion will provide vital relief for the households that stand to benefit, alone it cannot shift the dial on the resilience of UK households to energy price shocks now or in future.

Experts at E3G estimate it is about a fifth of the amount needed to be spent on green building measures and the opportunity was missed to meet the Home Upgrade Grant Conservative manifesto pledge – which is still £1.4 billion short of what should have been committed to 2025.

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G, commented:

The cold and leaky nature of Britain’s homes and buildings have left families sharply exposed to volatile international fossil fuel markets and spiralling energy bills.

Today’s small top-up to expand energy efficiency support is welcome step which will help cut household bills and boost the UK’s energy security.

We hope to see the government go further and faster to unleash the full potential that energy efficiency has to offer to protect UK households from future energy shocks.

Members of the Warm This Winter campaign, Possible, have also highlighted how the mini-Budget appears to have positive news for renewables with an end to the effective ban on building on-shore wind in England.

However, there was little detail on how the nation’s books will be balanced. A spokesperson for Greenpeace commented:

Failing to properly tax the obscene profits of fossil fuel giants and encouraging bankers to get richer is reckless and unfair.

Rather than seeking to deregulate and attack those on benefits, the new Chancellor should be looking for ways to raise taxes on those profiting from the crisis.

This could help fund emergency support for households, and cover the vital investment needed in home insulation to help cut our energy bills and climate emissions once and for all.

Ministers are ignoring common-sense, win-win solutions to bring down bills and carbon emissions – things like stopping energy waste, heat-pumps and solar panels.

Instead of boosting the economy through investments in green infrastructure, public services and skills training, the government’s plan is little more than a charter for fossil fuel profits and casino capitalism.

Earlier this week, Age UK analysis found that from October 2022, around three in ten older households in England will be living in fuel poverty, including 1.3m lower income older households.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, commented:

Our new analysis shows that the Government’s relief package will not do enough to prevent approaching two million more pensioners from being plunged into fuel poverty in a couple of weeks’ time.

Most worrying of all, in excess of half a million of them are already living on lower incomes, so they will be in an impossible position financially, unless the Government does more to help.

However hard they try their income is not going to stretch far enough to cover the essentials any more.

Can you imagine how terrifying this prospect is if you are an older person on a low fixed income who has just about managed so far? Once they realise what a deep financial hole they are about to be in our biggest concern is that some will cut their spending to such a degree that it puts them at risk.

The Chartered Institute of Housing has also recently written to the Prime Minister for urgent government action to:

  • Bring forward the planned uprating of benefits from next April to this October
  • Limit deductions from Universal Credit for prior overpayments/sanctions
  • Remove the benefit cap and two-child limit
  • Restore local housing allowance rates to at least the 30th percentile and return to annual uprating
  • Prevent energy companies from forcibly switching customers to prepayment meters
  • Commit to bring forward additional funding for energy efficiency measures in homes


The average household bill in winter 2021/22 was GBP1277. This has increased to GBP2,100 for winter 2022/23, taking into account the support promised so far. For some of the most vulnerable households, the increase will be limited to an average household bill of GBP1,700 this winter – still representing a 33% increase year-on-year. Please note, the Energy Price Guarantee caps the unit cost of energy, not the total bill.

In winter 2021/22, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimates 4.6m UK households were in fuel poverty (based on official definitions). This will rise to 6.99m in winter 2022/23.

Energy Company Obligation rules set out by Government

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has welcomed news that the Government has laid down the regulations for the new “Energy Company Obligation” Scheme to help improve the energy efficiency of peoples homes.

The scheme, known as ECO4, will last until 2026 and will help insulate homes, reducing energy bills. To access the fund, households will need to speak to their energy supplier or social housing landlord.

A spokesperson for the Coalition commented:

It’s welcome that the necessary legislation is finally being laid, but it is absolutely vital that we get swift passage of the regulations before the summer and with cross-party support to ensure no more bumps in the road.

We would also encourage BEIS and Ofgem to continue to work with installers and energy companies to keep up the number of retrofits carried out this summer before further price hikes kick in, and take other steps to ensure effective and smooth delivery (such as tackling supply chain and skills shortage challenges).

There are still some areas where the scheme could be improved, for example in ensuring more advice can be provided and that there is more support for the lowest income households so that those who can make household contributions do not receive overly preferential treatment.

Customers will also need more support if their boilers breakdown. There is a massive reduction in the allowance for this in ECO4, and no good alternative process for emergency (keeping in mind that a heat pump install will take longer could leave households without heating for a longer period in winter).

Finally, given the scale of the current cost of living crisis, more support will be needed to help a wider number of households reduce their energy bills permanently through energy saving measures such as insulation and heat pumps.

We encourage the government to boost existing schemes with new public spending commitments in the forthcoming Autumn Budget.

Energy saving measures could save billions

An expert report has revealed how investing now in energy saving solutions could save the UK Government hundreds of billions in ‘sticking plaster’ solutions this decade.

Experts calculate that the UK government has spent £37bn this year to stand still on soaring costs of living, without meaningful investment in solutions which could permanently reduce bills. With estimates that fossil fuel prices will remain at an unprecedented level until at least 2030, E3G is calling for long-term energy saving solutions to save the Treasury from needing to spend hundreds of billions in ‘sticking plaster’ solutions.

Households living in the least efficient homes will pay around £916 more per year on energy bills when the energy price cap rises to £2,800. If everyone living in homes below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C were improved to EPC C today, the aggregate saving would be £10.6bn each year.

Independent climate and energy think tank E3G has set out a package of measures to make rapid near-term progress, saving families an average of between £450 – over £1,000 per year.

As well as energy efficiency measures in homes, key measures suggested also include launching an Olympic-style skills and training programme for the retrofit supply chain and making independent energy and retrofit advice readily available to people across the country to share what help is available.

Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G and lead author of the report says:

With fossil fuel prices expected to remain sky high until at least 2030, the government must decide whether it wants to go on spending £37bn per year just to stand still – or to invest now in permanent solutions for lower bills, which will pay off multiple times over in the years ahead. Until the structural drivers of the cost of living crisis are addressed, including the cold and leaky nature of our housing, the government could be left spending tens of billions on emergency financial support packages each year.

Stew Horne, head of policy at Energy Saving Trust said:

E3G’s latest report highlights the steps the UK Government should take if it is to help people across the country reduce household energy usage and bills for the long-term. Time is ticking away to make the much-needed improvements to the energy efficiency of UK homes that UK government has committed to this decade. Energy Saving Trust particularly welcomes the report’s proposals for bespoke advice and support for consumers as this will play a vital role in helping make the changes that will permanently reduce the energy required to heat their homes and keep energy costs down.

Coalition responds to Chancellor’s cost of living crisis statement

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members have been responding to today’s announcement by the Government that additional support will be made available following reports of record energy price rises.

A spokesperson for End Fuel Poverty Coalition, commented:

“The Government has agreed in principle that a Windfall Tax is vital and the Chancellor has clearly listened to concerns that support for those in fuel poverty needs to be both widespread, but also focussed on the most vulnerable groups.

“But by October, energy bills will have increased by over £1,500 in a year. So while the measures announced today will take the sting out the tail of recent increases, the underlying problem of millions of households in fuel poverty remains.

“People in fuel poverty will need further reassurance that support will be there in the medium-term and we need full investment in a Great Homes Upgrade to improve the energy efficiency of homes as a national priority.”

Ami McCarthy, political campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:

“This windfall tax will serve only as a sticking plaster. While providing support to millions struggling with sky-high energy bills is 100% the right thing to do, by only skimming the top 25% off oil and gas company profits Sunak has missed a huge opportunity to tackle the root cause of the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis together.

“Taxing the full profits at 70% would have more than doubled the cash available. This could have been used to provide short-term relief to households, as well as upgrades to homes to ensure they use and waste less energy, and keep bills low for years to come.

“Instead of driving money into clean energy solutions, Sunak has used this announcement to encourage oil and gas company investments. Yet the current cost-of-living crisis is mostly a result of gas price rises – hard-up families shouldn’t have to wait for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to deliver cheaper and cleaner energy to help with their bills.”

National Energy Action commented:

“By October the average energy bill was predicted to more than double from last year. This vast increase would have pushed millions of households into destitution, turning to desperate measures to stay warm at home. Without additional support, we were facing an utterly disastrous winter. The Chancellor’s new package today averts the darkest of outcomes, offering some hope to the millions of fuel poor households across the UK.

“Millions will still be struggling and the energy crisis is far from over, but a large, more targeted intervention is what was needed ahead of winter.

“The Government urgently needs to plan for energy prices to remain high for the longer term. This must include a social tariff, setting an affordable price of energy for the poorest households. And there must be additional effort into making the homes of fuel poor households more energy efficient, making them more resilient to the sort of price shock that they are currently shouldering.”

James Taylor, Director of Strategy at disability equality charity Scope, said:

“The Chancellor has importantly acknowledged that life costs more if you are disabled.

“This package is a significant short-term boost to disabled people whose backs are against the wall.

“But inflation and energy prices are still running riot, and disabled people are much more likely to live in poverty.

“Even before the cost of living crisis, disabled people were facing extra costs of almost £600 a month. Many struggling with sky-high bills from needing more energy to charge vital equipment, or extra heating to stay warm.

“Our Disability Energy Support Service has been inundated by disabled people in crisis and nowhere else to turn.

“The Chancellor needs to continue to use the benefit system in the long term to target support at disabled people where it’s needed most. The Government must also make sure that no disabled people fall through the gaps in receiving the support needed to get through this winter and beyond.”

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

“Age UK is pleased and relieved that the Government has recognised the extreme risks soaring inflation pose to the health and welfare of pensioners, particularly those on low incomes, and has announced a package of measures today with the aim of mitigating them. With prices continuing to go up for everything they buy, life is certainly not going to be easy for many older people over the next few months, but the extra support the Chancellor is bringing forward will make a difference and will protect most from the worst of the unprecedented surge in the cost of living they face.

“Targeting most of the support on offer to pensioners who receive means-tested benefits, that is Pension Credit, was undoubtedly the right thing to do, but as a result it is more important than ever that every older person who qualifies receives their due. We know that some three quarters of a million are missing out at the moment, so we urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible to put in a claim without delay.  If they act quickly, it is possible they may be eligible for some of the additional financial help that is now available, and this could be life-changing for them.

“No one knows what will happen to prices later in the year and it may well be that the Government will need to go further and do more in the autumn Budget, if inflation goes on ratcheting up. At Age UK we will be tracking the experiences of older people, especially those on low incomes, as the months go by.  We will also continue to campaign with others for more investment in energy efficiency and for the reintroduction of a social energy tariff since, in the longer term, these would help pensioners to keep on top of their energy bills and support progress towards our zero carbon targets.

“It is absolutely crucial for older people that the triple lock kicks in again next year, so it was important that the Chancellor restated his commitment to this during his speech. Age UK will hold him to his word.”

Ed Matthew from E3G commented:

“The increased support for households this winter is welcome but the Chancellor has failed to fix the underlying crisis. The UK has the worst insulated homes in western Europe. He could halve household energy demand through efficiency measures alone, but it won’t happen unless he provides the financial support needed. The windfall tax should have been used in part to do that. It’s a missed opportunity and keeps citizens reliant on gas. We will all pay the price for this missed opportunity.”

Ruth London from Fuel Poverty Action commented:

“Champagne corks will be popping in the  boardrooms of North Sea oil and gas extractors. While in millions of homes, people on low incomes may risk the expense of turning on the kettle and splurging on a cup of tea.

“In the boardrooms they won’t fail to notice that the dreaded, long-delayed windfall tax will remove only £5bn of their £13bn windfall profits.  And even at its temporary peak, UK tax will be lower than the 70% norm for other countries.

“Continuing the UK’s strong record of give-aways to fossil fuel polluters, these giant corporations will get 90p back in tax relief for every pound they invest.  And that investment must go into oil and gas – four times more expensive than wind and solar energy, and costing us all even more than that, through pollution of the air, the sea and the climate.  Rishi Sunak says he doesn’t want to “burden future generations”.  But subsidising fossil fuels may mean they have no future at all.

“Back in the kitchen, some of the sums in the Chancellor’s ‘support’ package will provide much needed relief. But it is hard to feel grateful.  Even the maximum support he has offered to the poorest will not make up the increase in fuel bills this year, let alone the rising cost of food and rents. The missing £8 billion from windfall profits could have done so much to relieve the pain of a decade of cuts, rising prices, overwork, and cold, uninsulated homes!”

Major home insulation programme would drastically slash bills

The energy bills of almost eight million households could be slashed by as much as 40% if the government prioritises retrofitting the country’s draughty, heat-leaking homes, according to new predictions.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition members, Friends of the Earth, predict cavity wall insulation can reduce energy consumption by up to 20%, as can loft insulation.

For an average dual fuel household, the savings that could be made are around £750 a year.

New analysis by the environmental campaign group has identified the areas of the country that would most benefit from a massive programme of free loft and cavity wall insulation, broken down by both local authority area and parliamentary constituency.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to implement this policy as part of its upcoming energy review.

The top five local authority areas where most homes could see vast improvements in energy efficiency through the rollout of loft insulation are Birmingham, Leeds, Cornwall, Bradford, and Buckinghamshire.

Similarly, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and Buckinghamshire are among the top five areas where homes would most benefit from cavity wall insulation, as well as Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The average household will see energy costs rise by £693 this year, which is expected to climb higher still when the energy regulator re-evaluates the price cap again later this year.

Estimates suggest that one in four households will be plunged into fuel poverty from today as the initial price hike comes into effect. In some parts of the country, this will rise to more than 40% of households.

However, there are 5.7 million homes across the country where loft insulation could help households make significant cost savings, and a further 5.2 million where cavity wall insulation would have a similar effect.

The group has found that the majority (approximately 60%) of homes which could see lower bills through a government energy efficiency programme are in areas where household incomes are below the national average.

Areas with the highest levels of poverty are also twice as likely to have homes requiring better insulation than areas with the highest concentration of wealth, say campaigners.

Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said:

We know that our bills would already be significantly lower had the government not scrapped plans to make UK homes more energy efficient back in 2013. While the government can’t turn back time, it can choose to boost energy efficiency to reduce energy bills now and end the UK’s dependency on imported gas.

A free loft and cavity wall insulation programme, targeted at areas with high levels of fuel poverty, can be rolled out quickly by councils and will make a huge difference for millions of people ahead of next winter. The bonus is that this will also cut carbon emissions.

This programme can and should be funded by a Windfall Tax on profiteering fossil fuel companies. The government must commit to this as part of its upcoming Energy Security Strategy.

Sana Yusuf, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

Sky-rocketing energy costs resulting from today’s price rise have many households wondering how they’ll afford to make ends meet, but without much-needed government intervention the number of people facing extreme financial hardship is shockingly high.

Priority number one has to be protecting our communities from this and future price shocks. It’s crystal clear that our system is broken, and it’s because of the UK’s reliance on highly volatile gas that energy prices have spiralled well out of control.

Extracting more fossil fuels simply isn’t the answer, not even in the short-term, because new developments take decades to become operational, will do nothing to help people struggling now, and will fuel climate breakdown which is already harming millions across the globe.

Clearly, the quickest, cleanest, long-term solutions are already before us. Boosting energy efficiency is a crucial place to start, alongside an ambitious plan to scale up the country’s renewable energy capacity.

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


Image: Shutterstock

Charities unite in call for funding to tackle energy bill crisis

An alliance of 27 major charities have today written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, calling for urgent action to tackle the energy bill crisis, including boosting insulation funding.

The charities, which include Save the Children, Age UK, WWF, Green Alliance, Faith for the Climate, Tearfund and Greenpeace, are calling for emergency funding to support the most vulnerable and for insulation and clean energy funding to be increased to help wean the UK off expensive gas.

Without urgent government action the energy price cap could be increased by £600 in April, driven by the surging price of gas on the international markets, taking an average energy bill to around £2000.

The charities estimate that fuel poverty could increase by 50%, from 4 to 6 million households across the UK. There are fears this will lead to households choosing between heating and eating, an increase in the number of people dying in cold homes and a greater burden on the NHS, when it is already under great strain.

The charities remind the Prime Minister that a cut in support for making homes energy efficient after the last surge in energy bills in 2013 left households far more vulnerable to surging gas prices.

As a result of the Energy Company Obligation levy being cut in half and the Warm Front programme for the fuel poor being abolished, millions of British homes have not been insulated.  The cuts led to a 90% cut in loft and cavity wall insulation measures and half of those in the insulation industry lost their jobs. The charities warn that insulation rates have still not recovered and the same mistake must not be made today.

Juliet Phillips of the climate change think tank E3G said:

The Energy Company Obligation is the biggest programme the government has to insulate the homes of the fuel poor. Any damage to this levy would make these households more dependent upon gas, entrenching the crisis further.

Improving the efficiency of the worst performing UK homes could provide bill savings of over £500 every year per household upgraded, an aggregate saving of around £8bn

Investing in UK green energy and technologies like heat pumps would also help end the UK’s reliance on fossil gas. Renewables have helped to keep electricity prices from soaring as much as gas prices, as cheaper wind and solar cushion the increased expense of using gas to generate electricity.

The charities are also calling for emergency support for the most vulnerable, funded in part by a windfall tax on the fossil fuel industry, who are due to make profits up to ten times higher this financial year due to the surge in wholesale prices.

They are recommending expanding the Warm Homes Discount to ensure the majority of the expected rise in energy bills is covered for the most vulnerable households, for example those on universal credit and providing a one-off payment to those eligible for Cold Weather Payments.

The charities are also joining calls for legacy costs for renewables to be moved off power bills, to be paid for by the Exchequer instead, whilst leaving the Energy Company Obligation on the energy bill as a critical levy to help the fuel poor. They calculate that this would save households an additional £100 a year.

The charities also want the Government to fulfil its manifesto commitment to spend £6 billion on making homes more energy efficient. There is a £2 billion black hole in the funding committed after the Spending Review which they say must be filled, most of which was meant to go to the fuel poor.

Two thirds of households having no access in the UK to any insulation grant scheme. The charities want a new insulation grant programme set up to replace the failed Green Homes Grant which anyone can access.

The charities also call on the Government to ramp up the heat pump grant programme due to launch in April with ten times more funding, boosting it from £400m to a £4 billion programme, to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel boilers.

William Baker of Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty said:

The Energy Company Obligation is central to the Government’s legal duty to abolish fuel poverty by 2030. Scrapping the programme would show the Government does not take its statutory responsibilities seriously. It would condemn many fuel poor households to unaffordable fuel bills, ill health and in the worst cases death as a result of living in dangerously cold, unhealthy homes. The government must take urgent action to address the current crisis of rocketing fuel bills and expand its programmes to upgrade the insulation and heating systems of our notoriously leaky homes so that we are less dependent on volatile gas markets.

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

The cost of living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy prices, is totally unsustainable and is hitting the lowest income families the hardest. Parents we work with tell 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. Children deserve a fair and green future, and need a concrete plan from the UK Government that tackles both the cost-of-living and climate crises.

Dr Doug Parr, Policy Director at Greenpeace UK said:

The twin imperatives of a gas price crisis and the climate crisis mean we need to get off fossil fuels as fast as we can whilst protecting people on low incomes. That means we need to see short-term support for fuel poor families and long term support for energy efficiency and cheap renewables. A windfall tax on oil and gas companies would be a fair way to help finance the transition as we exit fossil fuel production in line with advice from leading experts at the International Energy Agency.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, which was also a signatory to the letter, commented:

After years of tireless campaigning by health, anti-poverty and environmental charities, trade unions and researchers, politicians are finally waking up to the tragedy of fuel poverty in the country.

Fuel poverty is a public health and social crisis but can only be solved by economic measures and the Government must do everything possible to help people in crisis now while investing in energy efficiency programmes to fix the long-term problems.

The full letter is available to read online.