London (PRWEB UK) 17 August 2013
Emma Aldridge, Head of Information and Projects at Turn2us, comments on the Government’s recently released fuel poverty statistics:
“Whilst it is encouraging that the figures show an overall drop in the number of fuel poor households, it is unacceptable that there are still over 2 million households across England living in fuel poverty. Furthermore, we are concerned that people struggling with their energy costs now face an average gap of £438 between their bills and what they can afford to pay – a staggering increase of £200 over the last decade.
"It’s also concerning that disability benefits are still being counted as income when calculating fuel poverty, despite previous recommendations for them to be excluded. Disability benefits are designed to cover the extra costs of disability and to help disabled people achieve the same standard of living as those without disabilities. More disabled people could be pushed in to fuel poverty if they have to use this income to pay their energy costs.
"In addition, the statistics highlight how energy efficient social housing is in comparison to the private rented sector. In light of the recent Housing Benefit changes, more people on low incomes may find themselves moving in to the private rented sector, and possibly into less energy efficient properties.
"Fuel poverty is prevalent amongst the people Turn2us helps, and our research last winter found that almost two-thirds of people on low incomes were not sure if they could meet their fuel costs without experiencing financial hardship. We also hear of the difficult decisions it forces people into, such as choosing whether to ‘heat or eat’.
"As the effects of welfare reform and further energy price rises continue to be felt, we urge anyone who is worried about their situation to visit the Turn2us website where they can check what welfare benefits and charitable grants they may be entitled to, and find further information to help with their energy costs.”