Fuel poverty hits North West – 25% of our people at increasing risk?

4th December 2011

One in four face fuel poverty, says ‘Consumer Focus’

As the Government is already decreasing Labour's winter fuel payment Chris is concerned at the effects of fuel poverty in Seacombe where many of our retired residents live on small fixed incomes.

Chris says:  “With the North West amongst the worst hit regions of England and Wales Seacombe families, where retired people’s incomes are lower than most, must be especially hard hit.    Across the Region the percentage of homes hit has risen from 22.1% to 29.4% – a startling and rapid upward trend.   Yet this government is reducing Labour’s winter fuel allowance at the same time.  If this winter is anything like as cold as last year’s how many of our elderly residents are going to be able to cope without great hardship?

This government’s slogan is ‘We’re all in this together’ – but how many of the millionaires in the Cameron/Clegg Cabinet, or the bankers who caused the mess in the first place, are going to feel the cold ‘all in this together’ quite as much as the people I represent in Seaombe this winter?”

The proportion of homes in fuel poverty in England and Wales has risen from 18% to 24% in two years, according to the report’s estimates. ‘Consumer Focus’ has calculated that nearly 5.7 million households are in fuel poverty – when more than 10% of their disposable income is spent on fuel.

‘Consumer Focus’ called on the UK government to support a new energy efficiency programme in England. The Welsh government is already committed to tackling fuel poverty, with schemes including ‘Arbed’, a £60m investment in improving energy efficiency in some of the most deprived areas.

The estimates are based on the most recent official government figures on fuel poverty since 2009. Energy price rises, changes to household income and alterations to household energy efficiency were then factored in. “Recent energy price rises have pushed many more people across the country into fuel poverty,” said Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus. It is difficult to see how the government is going to meet its target to end fuel poverty by 2016. With so many people struggling to afford their energy bills,
we urge the government to use the proceeds from new carbon taxes to support a national energy efficiency programme to give extra help to those who need it.”

Fuel poverty estimates in England and Wales
Region
2009
2011
Consumer Focus estimates of proportion of households in
fuel poverty
North
East
24.1% 30.1%
Yorkshire
and theHumber
19.9% 25%
North West 22.1% 29.4%
East Midlands 21.4% 27.5%
West Midlands 26.2% 32%
South
West
18.4% 24.9%
East 16.2% 20.6%
South
East
11.8% 16.9%
London 13.3% 17.8%
Wales 33.5% 41.3%

We will be interested to receive comments from our elderly residents about the reductions in winter fuel allowance.

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