Four reasons why fuel poverty is on the up…
1) Rising fuel bills.
The average fuel bill has doubled since 2004. For every one per cent price rise, 40,000 more people are pushed into fuel poverty. The main factor behind rising energy bills is the rising wholesale cost of gas. £100 of last year’s £150 average bill increase was due to the rising cost of gas. The other key factor behind rising energy bills is the profiteering of the Big Six energy companies – the Big Six push up our bills to boost their own bottomline. In a five month period last winter, the Big Six increased their profit-margins per household by 700 per cent.
2) The cuts.
The government has cut the funds available to help those in fuel poverty by over one quarter and has almost halved energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor. The Winter Fuel Allowance, which provides vital help to pensioners, has been slashed by £50 for those under 80 and by £100 for those over 80.
3) Poor housing.
Houses in the UK are notoriously badly insulated and inefficient. While they have much harsher winters, fuel poverty is far less of a problem in Scandinavia and this is largely due to the inefficiency of our housing stock. Matters are being made worse as social housing is sold off, putting more people at the mercy of deregulated landlords who have no incentive to provide warm, safe housing for their tenants.
4) Falling incomes.
Wages have fallen. According to the Bank of England, wages have fallen by 15 per cent since the economic crisis. At the same time, benefits are being cut. Whether you’re in work or out of work, you’ve got less money in your pocket and this means you’ve got less to spend on heating your home.
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