For immediate use: 30 June 2016
Government attempts to tackle fuel poverty have failed
Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has called on the government to do more to tackle fuel poverty, after official figures showed the number of people struggling to pay their energy bills was increasing. The latest figures show an increase in the number of households suffering fuel poverty in England has increased from 2.35m to 2.38m over the last three years. This represents over 10.5% of all English households. The figures are even more surprising given that before the 2015 general election, the Coalition government altered the way in which fuel poverty was measured, in such a way that it would automatically reduce the number of people affected. The NPC fears that today’s figures may therefore actually be an under-representation of the problem.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “Last winter, over 43,900 older people died from cold related illnesses. Energy bills continue to rise and prolonged cold spells mean that older people – and other families with low incomes are struggling to heat their homes. The previous government may have tried to hide the problem by massaging the figures, but the truth is more and more people in Britain are finding that a warm home is becoming a luxury they simply cannot afford. The government needs to urgently set out how it intends to tackle the excessive profits of the big six energy companies, how it can improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s housing stock and how it can help people to pay their bills.”