2.2 million children living in fuel poverty in England

January 30th, 2014

·         225,000 more children in cold homes than in 2011

·         Half of Britons cut back on school equipment, clothing, or food for the family in order to pay for heating

·         Cold Homes Week (3rd – 7th Feb), a week of action involving over 100 organisations, will pile pressure on the Government to invest in home insulation

Over two million children are ‘growing up cold’ in England, according to new figures released today, as a poll suggests that UK parents are sacrificing buying family essentials in order to heat their homes.

The shocking figures from ACE Research for the Energy Bill Revolution show the number of children living in fuel poverty in England has increased by 225,000 since 2011, an 11% rise.(1)

The sky high fuel poverty figures are a result of high energy bills, cuts to Government support for the fuel poor and the woeful standards of insulation of Britain’s homes.

Today’s figures are based on a new definition of fuel poverty for England, which has been officially adopted by the Government. It classifies someone as ‘fuel poor’ if they live below the poverty line and have an energy bill higher than the median.

Under this new definition, there are almost 7 million people in total living in fuel poverty in England.

A poll released today by the Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s largest fuel poverty campaign, shows that one in five (19%) of Britons have switched off the heating this winter to save money, despite being cold at home. And half of people (48%) said they have cut back on other spending in order to pay to heat their homes, with sacrifices including school equipment and clothing, or food for the family.(2)

The figures come ahead of Cold Homes Week (3rd – 7th February), a week of action coordinated by the Energy Bill Revolution, during which some of Britain’s biggest charities and businesses will pile pressure on the Government to invest in home insulation as the only way to solve the fuel poverty problem once and for all. During the week over a hundred organisations and tens of thousands are expected to ask their MP to support the Energy Bill Revolution campaign to end fuel poverty.

Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution, said: “That 7 million English people are struggling in fuel poverty is a national tragedy and the Government’s efforts to solve the problem have so far been utterly inadequate. There’s a simple solution to this crisis – we must stop our homes leaking heat. The Government must make this the UK’s number one infrastructure spending priority. Better insulation will save families hundreds of pounds on their energy bills and eliminate fuel poverty once and for all.

“Next week the biggest fuel poverty alliance the world has ever seen will call on the Government to stop dithering and start acting to make warm homes affordable for everyone.”

Barnardo’s Ambassador, actress Michelle Collins, said: “It’s tragic that in a developed country like the UK so many families are living in fuel poverty. All too often parents are having to make the desperate choice between heating and buying essential items, like school uniforms, for their children.

That is why I’m supporting Cold Homes Week, to get better insulation for the homes of the UK’s most vulnerable families and help put an end to the suffering of the 2.2 million children growing up cold.”

Ends

You can support the fight for warm homes here 

Notes to editors

1.       Fuel poverty statistics from ACE & EBR Fact file, (2014-01) Fuel Poverty update 2014. Relevant table as follows:

Number of households, people, families and children in fuel poverty in England (new definition]

 

Households

Change on 2011

People

Change on 2011

Families

Change on 2011

Children

Change on 2011

2014

2,460,000

+3%

6,990,000

+6%

1,080,000

+7%

2,230,000

+11%

2013

2,440,000

+2%

6,910,000

+5%

1,075,000

+6%

2,200,000

+10%

2011

2,390,000

-

6,585,000

-

1,010,000

-

2,005,000

-

2.       Household spending statistics from EBR and TNS research. 975 adults (16 and over) adults polled in November 2013 found that:

  • 48% of those surveyed have cut back on spending (such as clothing, food shopping and school equipment) to pay their heating bill
  • 19% of those surveyed have been cold at home but not used the heating for financial reasons

3.       Find out more about Cold Homes Week here: http://www.energybillrevolution.org/

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