Fuel poverty rates among the lowest in England before the energy crisis
Fewer households were fuel poor in Windsor and Maidenhead than almost anywhere else in England before the national energy crisis, according to new figures.
But the End Fuel Poverty Coalition has warned that many more will struggle to pay sky-high bills this year after the energy price cap rose in April and the war in Ukraine drove prices up by big oil.
Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that 4,069 households in Windsor and Maidenhead were fuel poor in 2020 – the most recent official figures.
This figure was up from 3,723 the previous year, meaning that 6.4% of people lived in a property with a Band D or lower energy efficiency rating and, after heating their home, had a residual income below the official poverty line.
This meant Windsor and Maidenhead had some of the lowest fuel poverty rates in England in 2020.
At the other end of the scale, 22.4% of households in Wolverhampton were fuel poor.
Across England, more than 3 million households (13.2%) were in fuel poverty in 2020, the lowest proportion since records began in 2010.
However, these figures do not take into account the current fuel price explosion, which saw the energy price cap rise by 54% in April, meaning that many households can expect to pay around £700 more a year on their bills.
The annual tariff cap is set to rise again in October and Michael Lewis, chief executive of energy firm EON UK, has warned MPs that between 30 and 40 per cent of Britons could end up in fuel poverty.
He added that customer debts could rise by 50%, or around £800m.
Simone Rossi, chief executive of EDF, also warned parliament that the company had received 40% more calls from customers worried about their debt.
Simon Francis, from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said the 2020 figures show “how significant the government’s failure to tackle fuel poverty has been” and estimates that more than 6 million households in England are now plunged into energy poverty.
“The impact of the measures taken before the pandemic has barely changed the dial – and we know that very little has been done since 2020 to change the situation,” added Mr Francis.
“We need urgent help for households in energy poverty, now combined with a long-term plan to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable energy mix focused on renewables.”
Peter Smith, director of policy and public advocacy at National Energy Action, said “the poorest households are too often also disproportionately affected by substandard housing” and urged the government to meet its 9.2 pledge. billion pounds to improve 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 spokesman said it was continuing to make “significant progress in tackling energy poverty”.
They added: “We are investing over £6.6billion in this parliament and working directly with local authorities to further improve the energy efficiency of homes across the UK, which remains the best long-term method. to reduce household energy costs”.