The decision this week to raise the cap on energy prices by £117 a year will mean more people falling into Fuel Poverty.
Today is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, is calling for more action to tackle the issue.
Fuel poverty is the condition by which a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature. This is influenced by three factors; low-incomes, high energy costs, and energy inefficient housing.
A shocking 4.5 million UK households are in fuel poverty and living in cold, damp and unsafe homes. The effects can be detrimental to people’s health, quality of life and wider communities. This includes negative impacts to physical and mental health, increased social isolation, poorer educational attainment and reduced economic productivity.
It is shocking to think that in this day and age, people are unable to afford to heat their homes properly. We need real action to tackle the problem of fuel poverty – from keeping fuel bills down, to making sure people are paid enough to be able to cover their household costs.
I well remember the Warm Zone project run by Stockton Borough Council 18 years ago that took many thousands of people out of fuel poverty – yet many of those helped have since slipped back into with the huge increases in energy prices over the years.
The decision this last week by the energy regulator OFGEM to raise the cap on energy prices can only result in even more people falling into the trap. We need to do so much more to help them. The Government needs to take the lead on this – and make a real effort to eradicate fuel poverty.
For more information, check of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition’s website http://www.endfuelpoverty.org.uk/news/