It seems as though the UK Fuel Poverty crisis is getting worse, as new research predicts that almost a quarter of UK households will be seeking debt advice as they are facing fuel poverty in 2009.
The National Housing Federation (NHF) reports an 100% increase in the number of people who are spending more than 10% of their income on energy bills, since 2005. This figure shows no sign of declining as by 2010 the annual electricity bill is expected to be over £500 and gas bills over £900.
Due to prepayment schemes, those who are from low-income backgrounds and are struggling with debt are likely to be the worse suffers of UK fuel poverty , and could be paying £65 more than those who are billed every quarter.
NHF director of campaigns and neighbourhoods, Ruth Davison, called the findings part of a “full scale national energy crisis”.
What is UK Fuel Poverty?
UK Fuel poverty is defined by a household that spends more than 10% of their annual income on their total fuel bills, in order for them to heat their home to an adequate standard. This standard taken from the World Health Organisation who say that the temperature should be 21°C in the main living room and 18°C in other occupied rooms during daytime hours, with lower temperatures at night.
What Causes UK Fuel Poverty?
There are a number of causes which, when combined, are the main cause of fuel poverty. These are:
- High fuel costs
- Poor energy efficiency, such as low levels of insulation
- Low annual household income
Secondary causes which add the fuel property include under-occupancy of a property and varying household fuel consumption patterns.
What are the Impacts of UK Fuel Poverty?
There are a number of ways that fuel poverty can impact someones everyday life. Many people may have to make the choice between maintaining a healthy lifestyle and heating their home.
If general home warmth is neglected, this can aggravate many cold-related illnesses such as influenza, strokes and heart disease. Those who are at the most risk of the impacts of UK Fuel Poverty are the old, young and those suffering with a long term illness.
Getting Help with Fuel Poverty
If you are struggling with your finances and are suffering from fuel poverty, then it is essential that you seek help through all available means.
The Warm Front & Home Energy Efficiency Schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the Government’s main platform for tackling fuel poverty. You may find that you are suitable for a warm front grant of up to £2,500.
You could also contact the Home Heat Helpline. This organisation is supported by energy suppliers and is aimed to reduce the number of UK households who are suffering from fuel poverty. They encourage consumers to contact their energy suppliers and will see if you are eligible for additional benefits.
You may find that you are struggling to make payments to your fuel bills because you have too much outstanding debt, such are credit card debt, store card debt or unsecured loan debt. If you do have debt problems or just want debt advice about your financial situation, then One Advice are here to help.
One Advice have a team of professional debt advisors who can help you through your finances to try and find a solution to your debt problems. We have a number of financial solutions available, such as debt management plans, IVAs, secured lending and we offer a bankruptcy advice service.