Almost 40,000 Northamptonshire households already in fuel poverty even BEFORE current energy crisis

Campaign group warns families need urgent help to tackle soaring bills

By Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 3:09 pm

Nearly 40,000 households in West Northamptonshire were in fuel poverty before the national energy crisis, new figures show.

Campaign group End Fuel Poverty Coalition is warning even more will struggle to afford rocketing bills this year after the energy price cap rose in April and the war in Ukraine led to an increase in wholesale oil prices.

Households in fuel poverty are said to be unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature.

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Thousands of the Northamptonshire homes experiencing fuel poverty have dependent children, according to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures show 19,857 households in West Northamptonshire were in fuel poverty in 2020 – the most recent official figures. In North Northamptonshire, the figure is 18,314 households.

That means around one in eight live in county properties with an energy efficiency rating of band D or below and, after heating their home, had a residual income below the official poverty line.

Across England, more than three million households (13.2 percent) were in fuel poverty in 2020, the lowest proportion since records began in 2010. More than two-thirds of them have dependent children.

However, these figures do not account for the current explosion in fuel prices, which saw the energy price cap increase by 54 percent in April, meaning many households can expect to pay around £700 more per year on their bills.

The annual limit on tariffs is due to rise again in October and Michael Lewis, chief executive of energy company EON UK, warned MPs between 30 and 40 percent of people in Britain could end up in fuel poverty.

He added that customers' debts could rise by 50 percent, or around £800 million.

Simone Rossi, chief executive of EDF, also warned parliament that the company had received 40 percent more calls from customers worried about debt.

End Fuel Poverty says it believes “everybody has the right to a warm, dry home that they can afford to heat and power.”

Spokesman Simon Francis said the 2020 figures show “just how significant the Government's failure to tackle fuel poverty has been” and estimated more than six million households in England have now been thrust into fuel poverty.

“The impact of measures taken pre-pandemic has barely shifted the dial – and we know very little has been done since 2020 to change the picture," added Mr Francis.

“We need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.”

Peter Smith, director of policy and public advocacy at National Energy Action, said the “poorest households are all too often also disproportionately impacted by poor housing" and urged the Government to fulfil its £9.2 billion commitment to improving the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.

“Improving energy efficiency should be at the forefront of the UK’s response to the energy crisis," added Mr Smith.

A Government spokesperson said it is continuing to make “significant progress on tackling fuel poverty,” adding: “We are investing over £6.6 billion this parliament and working directly with local authorities to further boost energy efficiency in homes across the UK, which remains the best long-term method to keep household energy costs down.”