Our response to new fuel poverty figures out today
Published on 14 October 2010 12:00 PM
In response to the publication of the annual fuel poverty figures by DECC today, Age UK's Charity Director Michelle Mitchell said:
'With 250,000 more older households living in fuel poverty, bringing the total number of fuel poor older households up to 1.72 million, it is nothing short of a national scandal that this crisis is continuing to escalate. Every winter, millions of older people struggle to survive on a low, fixed income, living in fear of their energy bills and risking their health by cutting back on their heating to keep costs down.
'At a time when fuel poverty is still staggeringly high, it is hard to understand why there is still a question mark over the future of cold weather and winter fuel payments. The coalition must stand by its promise to protect the poorest and most vulnerable by leaving the winter fuel payment intact in next week's spending review. A lifeline for millions, this universal benefit is currently the only way to ensure that the very poorest older people can afford to stay warm in winter.
'The government must also urgently develop a new fuel poverty strategy to support the most vulnerable households. It should be working with energy companies to reform social tariffs and end price inequalities that penalise the poorest who tend to use pre-payment meters or pay by cash or cheque.'
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Notes to editors
Some key figures published today: (England only, 2008 figures)
- Older households in fuel poverty more than doubled between 2003 and 2008. In 2003 one in 10 households with at least one person aged 60 or over was in fuel poverty and by 2008 this had risen to one in five.
- Just over half of all fuel poor households contain someone over the age of 60.
- Just over a quarter of all fuel poor households include someone over the age of 75.
- Around 22% of all households with someone over the age of 60 are fuel poor, compared with 12% of households without someone over the age of 60.
Anyone who is worried about keeping warm this winter should call Age UK Advice on freephone 0800 169 65 65 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk to check they are receiving the help they are entitled to.