Tuesday December 23rd 2014
According to The Independent, ‘more than one million families with children cannot afford to heat and light their homes, official figures have disclosed.’
Over the last decade, the number of English families in fuel poverty has climbed steadily to reach 1,027,000. The total now comprises 679,000 two-parent families and 348,000 single-parent households.
Those affected said they had been hit by a combination of soaring energy costs and a squeeze on benefits.
However, many pensioner households have escaped fuel poverty because of the help that they receive with energy bills and the protection of pension levels.
According to the latest statistics, almost one in five families with children (18%) are in fuel poverty in England, with an average gap of almost £400 a year between a family’s energy bill and what it can afford.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, responded: “Overall fuel poverty has fallen year on year, but there’s still some way to go. Our energy efficiency plans are targeting help at those who need it most.”
Chief executive of Gingerbread, Fiona Weir, said: “Single parent families are hit harder by rises in fuel prices because a larger proportion of their outgoings have to go on the essentials, such as energy bills and food for their family. At the same time wages haven’t risen and cuts to tax credits and other benefits are putting many under serious financial pressure.”