One in Five Mothers Have to Make Heartbreaking Choice Between Heating and Eating This Christmas

December 22nd, 2014

Net Mums Release Vsm

Fuel poverty campaigners demand that politicians use infrastructure funds to make UK homes super energy efficient

  • Half of mums cut back on Christmas presents due to energy bill worries 
  • Energy bills worry mothers more than their mortgage or food budget this Christmas
  • Over 70% concerned for the heath of their children or elderly this winter due to cold homes 
  • 97% believe political leaders have ‘no idea’ what it is like to live in a cold home
  • 1 in 5 forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families

British families face a freezing Christmas this year and will have to take drastic measures to keep their homes warm throughout the winter months.

A shocking new Energy Bill Revolution survey of Netmums members has today revealed that over 70% of mums are worried about the effect of living in a cold home on the health of their children and elderly relatives, whilst 1 in 5 mothers have had to make the terrible choice between heating their homes and feeding their families.

Poor home insulation is the culprit. UK homes are some of the most badly insulated in Europe and British families suffer from some of worst rates of fuel poverty, second only to Estonia. Mums believe that politicians are completely out of touch, with over 97% feeling that the leaders of the main political parties have ‘no idea’ what it is like to live in a cold home.

Campaigners are demanding that political parties commit to using infrastructure funds to invest in a far more ambitious programme of home insulation, to slash energy bills arid rid the country of the scourge of fuel poverty.

Nearly 4 in 5 mums (78%) believe that insulating homes needs to be the Government’s top infrastructure spending priority, more so than building news roads (14%) or HS2 (3%), proving how important the issue is to families across the UK.

The Government has set out plans for over £100 billion of public infrastructure investment during the next Parliament but so far they have failed to pledge a single penny to make homes energy efficient. The polling strongly suggests that using capital infrastructure funds to insulate homes would be incredibly popular.

The survey, commissioned by The Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s largest anti-fuel poverty campaign group, also found:


  • Energy bills are their biggest financial worry for the majority of UK mums (44%), more so than grocery costs or even mortgage payments;
  • Nearly half (48%) of mothers are having to cut back on Christmas presents just to keep their heating on;
  • 72% will have to ration their heat just to get by.


Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution said:

“No one should ever have to make the horrific decision between feeding their family and keeping them warm.

If the Government is serious about ending the fuel poverty scandal they must use infrastructure funds to make UK homes super energy efficient. There is no infrastructure more important than the homes we live in.”

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard added: “While petrol and food prices are finally falling, this is cold comfort for British families this winter while energy bills remain sky high. This study shows we need to prioritise energy efficiency and home insulation to ensure families can heat their homes and stay healthy.”


Laura Lawton, a mother of two from Ormskirk, Lancashire, said

“When it comes to winter, I often cut meals to make sure that we have enough money to pay our energy bills. I do everything I can to avoid putting the heat on. When my children complain of the cold I have to run them a hot bath or make them wrap up in a duvet.   

“We try and spend as much time as possible out of the house. I really worry about my 3 year old as he keeps getting chest infections and living in a cold house is not helping at all.”


Is your MP fighting for warm homes? Find out here


Notes to Editors

About the Energy Bill Revolution

The Energy Bill Revolution, the world’s largest anti-fuel poverty campaign group, is calling for a radical new approach to home energy efficiency. They are calling for all 6 million low income homes to be given measures by 2025 to bring them up to Band C on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and for all other households to be offered 0% interest loans to improve them to an equivalent EPC standard by 2035, delivered as part of a major infrastructure investment programme.

About Netmums

NETMUMS.COM is Britain’s biggest parenting site, with over 1.8 million members and 8 million unique users each month. Founded in 2000, it offers unrivalled support though a unique network of 151 established and vibrant local websites and 300 national groups for mums to meet offline, alongside 2,300 parent bloggers covering the most topical family-focused content on the web. Netmums is also the only parenting site to provide professional round the clock care to its users. Dubbed ‘the emergency service for mums’, each year over three and a half million parents are helped by Netmums specially trained teams of parenting experts, including staff from Relate, Women’s Aid and the Family Rights Group. The site also provides free one-to-one support for more than 30,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable mums each year. The three Netmums founders were recently awarded OBEs in recognition of their Services to Families.


MPs supporting the campaign
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