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Five million households now in fuel poverty

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan

Five million households across the UK were classed as being in fuel poverty last month, an increase of 11.7% since January last year.

A household is defined as being in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on heating.

Some 523,000 more households were plunged into fuel poverty this January compared to the same time last year, meaning one in four (24%) homes in Britain now struggle with their heating bills, a Legal & General MoneyMood Survey found.

In some regions of the UK the percentage of households in fuel poverty was even higher.

East Anglia (39%), the South West (31%), the West Midlands (31%), Yorkshire and Humberside (28%) and the North East (29%) all have more homes in fuel poverty than the national average (24%).

In the worst hit region – East Anglia – the number of homes in fuel poverty has doubled since January last year.

There were higher than average increases in the South West (up 48%), London (up 28%), the West Midlands (up 15%) and the North East (up 22%).

But the report also found that the number of households saying they are in fuel poverty has fallen year on year in Wales (down 41%), the East Midlands (down 31%) and Scotland (down 26%) and the North West (down 10%).

This follows a recent report from uSwitch.com, which found that almost three quarters of households have gone without heating at some point this winter to cope with the increasing costs of energy.

Worryingly, just under one in four turned the heating off regularly.

The report also found that almost eight in ten have cut down or rationed their energy use this winter due to the increased cost.

According to the comparison site, the average household energy bill will have rocketed by £792 or 168% in a decade, from £472 a year in 2004 to £1,264 a year by this March.

This is despite an apparent reduction in energy bills following the Government’s decision to roll back green levies last year.