Department of Energy and Climate Change figures show that a million more households have fallen into fuel poverty, bringing the total to 5.5 million – for 2009. This year is expected to be even worse.
As energy bills rise, more households are crossing the threshold and falling into ‘fuel poverty’ – spending more than 10% of their income on heating and lighting their home and keeping it supplied with power.
Now, new figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that that more than a million new households are in fuel poverty, bringing the official total to 5.5 million, or around a fifth of UK households.
But these figures are for 2009, and experts agree the figures for 2011 will be much worse as bills rise and more people find the real value of their incomes standing still or falling. Experts are predicting a rise to 6.3 million households this year – around a quarter of all households in the UK.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has reported that a growing number of people are having to make the decision whether to heat their homes sufficiently or cut back on food.
The Bureau’s chief executive, Gillian Guy, said, “It is vital that the Government now commits to meeting the statutory target to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016.”
The previous Government had originally intended to eradicate fuel poverty by 2010, and numbers fell from 6.5 million households in 1996 to 2 million in 2004. Since then, however, rising bills have pushed many households back over the line.
Moneyhighstreet comments: “Scottish Power is raising its electricity prices by 10% and gas prices by 19% while British Gas has announced respective price rises of 16% and 18%. These significant increases mean that the average annual dual fuel bill will hit £1,195 by August. And with only two of the Big Six declaring price rises so far, it’s likely to climb further.
“This makes it more important than ever for households to take measures to save energy. These can include insulating your home, tracking how much power you use and, as companies raise their prices at different rates, shopping around online for find the best deals on energy.”