New map shows millions more could be in fuel poverty

1 October 2021

A new map of England has revealed a high number of people living in fuel poverty, The new fuel poverty index, created by the Fuel Poverty Coalition (of which CSE is a proud member) and Age UK, shows a league table of local authorities by combining fuel poverty figures with data on measures improving energy efficiency and therefore reducing fuel poverty.

The Fuel Poverty Coalition is warning that:

  • Fuel poverty could become endemic in UK unless drastic action is taken.
  • The energy crisis could see one in five households forced into fuel poverty.
  • Ofgem energy price hike hits thousands from 1 October.

The worst place in England for fuel poverty is Barking & Dagenham, followed by Stoke-on-Trent and Newham. But it’s not just inner city areas which are badly ranked in the map, with Shropshire, Herefordshire and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk all struggling with fuel poverty. Meanwhile Bracknell Forest, Runnymede and East Hampshire are among the areas least affected.

The latest calculations have revealed rising wholesale energy prices could see the number of households in the country rise from the current estimate of 4.1m to 5.3m. This would equate to 22% of all households in England classified as being in fuel poverty.

Ian Preston, Head of Household Energy at CSE, said: “Keeping healthily warm is a basic human right and it’s wrong that so many people are struggling with cold homes when living in a developed country like the UK. Cold homes cause misery, ill-health and social exclusion. Many government and industry support programmes, like furlough, are due to end soon and the energy advice sector will face a tsunami of demand from people needing support. We need urgent action from the government to maintain support for people in vulnerable circumstances.”

CSE has energy saving advice and top tips for people worried their energy supplier is about to go bust or thinking of switching as prices soar.

Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: "The latest rises in wholesale prices means that we face the possibility of more households facing fuel poverty than ever before. And with fuel poverty comes increased risks of suffering the worst effects of respiratory illnesses, such as Covid-19.

"Indeed, when combined with the increase in general prices caused by inflation and Brexit supply issues we face the real possibility of fuel poverty becoming endemic in our society.”

Local authorities who want to understand more about what they can do have been encouraged to pass the Coalition’s fuel poverty motion.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition recently launched a petition with campaign website Action Storm to call on the government to take immediate action to avert the fuel poverty crisis this winter.

You can read more on this on the Fuel Poverty Coalition website here.

Stay up to date with our work - sign up for our fortnightly newsletter