Think that fuel poverty only affects a select few? Think again! According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, more than 4 million homes in England have already fallen into fuel poverty this year alone. The number of houses in fuel poverty fell in 2010, but it is now on the rise. This is shocking news for people who assumed this problem was slowly being brought under control.
The number of houses in the UK in fuel poverty dropped from 5.5 million in 2009 to just 4.75 million in 2010. This was a huge decrease and very good news for the general public as a whole. However, the number has now shot back up, and experts assume it will just continue to climb. Of course, the next figures are not expected to be posted until 2013 and 2014.
This number is not too far off from what was predicted by the Department of Energy and Climate change. In fact, they had predicted that about 3.9 million homes would be in fuel poverty by the year 2012. However, this number will likely increase as the year goes on.
The report goes on to show that Northern Ireland remains the most fuel poor part of the UK. In fact, it is estimated that 44 percent of people in Northern Ireland spend more than 10 percent of their income on their energy bills. Unfortunately, no relief seems to be in sight anytime soon.
Of course, other areas are not that much better off. For example, 28 percent of homes in Scotland are fuel poor. This is followed by 26 percent of homes in Wales and nearly 16 percent of homes in England. These are startling figures, but they do show how widespread of a problem fuel poverty is.
Greg Barker, who is the Energy and Climate change minister, said that he was encouraged by the fall in fuel poverty in the period to April 2011. However, as people are seeing now, there is no room for complacency. Fuel poverty remains a very serious national problem. The coalition is absolutely committed to tackling this problem head on.
Mr. Barker went on to say that people can still get help with heating and insulation through Warm Front. Around two million homes will get money off their energy bills this year through the Warm Home Discount scheme. This is something to look into before winter comes around. However, the ambitious new policies, including the Green Deal, will go much further than that. The Green Deal will help people pay for home improvements through savings on their energy bills, with extra financial help for the most vulnerable.