Two and a half million households with children are in fuel poverty after the new energy price cap came into force today, according to estimates by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.
This equates to two out of five households, and it rises to more than half if we only look at single-parent households.
Overall, more than a quarter of homes in England – representing over 15 million people – are in fuel poverty, with the cost of a standard bill rising by 50%.
The definition of energy poverty used here is a household that spends more than 10% of its income on energy bills.
A study published in the British Medical Journal explored the “intimate” link between fuel poverty and poor health.
“Children who grow up in cold, damp and moldy homes with inadequate ventilation have higher than average rates of respiratory infections and asthma, chronic diseases and disability. They are also more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and slowed physical and cognitive growth and development.”
Where will be most affected?
Other estimates predicted which parts of the country would be hit the hardest by rising prices.
This map shows how many people in each local authority are likely to be fuel poor. Click or tap on the map to see the numbers for your area.
If we dig deeper into the data than the map can show, it reveals more extremes.
It is estimated that up to nine out of ten people are in fuel poverty in the Bushbury and Low Hill area of Wolverhampton, the worst affected area in the country.
People there are 25 times more likely to be in fuel poverty compared to the least affected neighborhoods, which are mainly in the south-east.
Although these figures only represent England, the problem could be even more serious in other countries of the United Kingdom.
In Scotland, 900,000 households – just under 40% – are expected to be fuel poor under the new cap, including 600,000 in “extreme fuel poverty”, according to Energy Action Scotland.
Nearly three out of five people living in the Western Isles will soon be spending more than 10% of their income on energy.
Extreme energy poverty occurs when a household has to spend more than 20% of its income on energy.
The Scottish Government’s target is for no more than 5% of households to be in a situation of energy poverty and less than 1% in a situation of extreme energy poverty.
In Wales, National Energy Action estimates that 280,000 households are in fuel poverty, 100,000 more than in October 2021.
This is how it could be broken down by local authority, according to National Energy Action.
Although the price cap for the whole of Britain is set by the regulator Ofgem, energy policy is devolved to the Welsh and Scottish administrations. Northern Ireland is not subject to an energy price cap.
What is the government doing to help?
The government announced plans for a loan of £200 to help pay those bills, which would be paid off by adding £40 to bills for the next five years. There is also a £150 council tax rebate for qualifying homes which will not need to be repaid.
These short-term measures were announced on the assumption that recent increases in the cost of resources, such as gas and oil, were also going to be short-term.
Since that announcement, Russia’s war in Ukraine has further destabilized the energy market and is expected to drive up bills further when the price cap is next updated in October.
Energy Action Scotland CEO Frazer Scott said it could raise another £1,000, which would be a tripling in two years.
“Without further government intervention, on VAT, green levies and the profits of energy giants, thousands more lives will be lost. This is a human tragedy on our doorstep.”
Dr Jamie Stewart, deputy director of the Strathclyde Center for Energy, said the impact of not having access to energy was highlighted by recent storms which knocked out electricity to residents of northern England, as well as parts of Ukraine that have access. cut as part of the Russian seats.
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“In the short term, money is what people will need to not be disconnected from their supplier and face the disastrous consequences that come with it.
“There will be further consideration of the net zero agenda and whether it might lead to higher prices, but it might not be possible to have sustainable economies in the future without it. .”
Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, added: “We need urgent help for fuel-poor households now, combined with a long-term plan to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and investing in sustainable, renewable energy -led, energy mix.”
Government data on the number of people in fuel poverty in different parts of England is released two years late, so the 2020 data was only released at the end of February, and we will have to wait until in 2024 for official figures on how many people are affected right now.
It’s too late to respond to the rapidly changing environment we’re experiencing right now, so the End Fuel Poverty Coalition has compiled these numbers, to help us understand what’s going on right now.
Mr Francis says the Coalition has back-checked previous estimates and is confident the model will accurately represent the official figures when they come out in two years.
The Scottish figures have been extrapolated by Energy Action Scotland from the Scottish Government’s National Impact Assessment around the April 1 price increase.
In Wales, no new figures have been released by local authorities since 2018, the calculations above assume that a national increase of 80% is distributed equally in each part of the country.
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