Fuel Poverty A Huge Problem For Children and Families In The UK
By Cynthia Taylor
Research by The Energy Bill Revolution, a campaign group, has shown socking statistics about Fuel Poverty:
The study revealed that there are more than two million children who are 'growing up cold' as the number of households that are living in fuel poverty soars, in England this is up by 460,000 or 26% over the past year because of rising energy bills.
What is more frightening is that one in two households in Britain need to cut back on essentials like food clothing and equipment so that they can pay for their heating bills.
The Campaign group, has placed the blame on high energy bills, cuts to government support for those who are fuel poor and on the poor insulation in many homes of the fuel poor.
In another survey it was revealed that more than seven in ten households have not used heating at some point this winter in order to cut costs. This situation has affected their health and quality of life.
Nine out of ten consider the costs before they switch on their heating and only 15% think that energy is affordable in another study done by an energy broker.
The Figures from the Energy Bill Revolution are based on the government's latest definition of fuel poverty for England, that now classifies a person as 'fuel poor' of they are living below the poverty line and their energy bill is higher than the median.
Under this new definition shows that there are seven million people who are living in fuel poverty.
Ed Matthews of thee Energy Bill Revolution said that such a high figure of seven million is a national tragedy and that the governments efforts, thus far, have utterly inadequate to solve the problem.
Mr. Matthews continued that there was a simple solution to the crisis – the UK must stop homes from leaking heat and that the government must place this as their number one priority to improve insulation in homes. He said that better insulation would save families hundreds of pounds on their energy bills. This would also help to eradicate fuel poverty once and for all.
There are two 'golden rules' to lowering household bills, make homes energy efficient and pay the lowest tariff possible by shopping around and switching suppliers if necessary.
In another survey it was found that the average household has their thermostat set 23C (73F) – this is a degree or two warmer than summer’s day in England’s south. It also found that about 36% have the thermostat at 25c and that one in 20 has it up to 30c.
The Energy Saving Trust said that at least £65 is added to the annual energy bill, for each degree Celsius that is turned up. Which means that considerable savings could be made by just turning he thermostat on degree lower.
Governments response to The Energy Bill Revolution wher ethey say their research is not as comprehensive a their own research, which according to government fuel poverty is falling. They say that in 2011 3.2 million were in fuel poverty, that is they were under the 10% definition, a decrease from 3.5 million in 2010. they also said that under the 'low income high cost' definition 2.4 million this is down from 2.5 million in 2010.
The DECC's spokesperson has said that the government was doing everything in their power to help families that are hard-pressed to keep their energy bills down. Plans that have been announced and will save £50 on energy bills, and that 230.000 of the vulnerable and deprived households will be warmer through the energy efficiency measures using ECO the Energy Company Obligation scheme.
Additional direct help from the Warm Home Dismount, Cold Weather Payment and the Winter Fuel Payments.
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