Housing Specification Blog

Fuel poverty claims more homeowners every winter

November 7, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

When I think wintertime I think frosty countryside walks, before cosying up round the fire. In reality, the cold weather will bring misery to millions of homeowners across the UK this winter.

A large portion of British homes don’t provide adequate warmth and protection from the cold weather

Fuel Poverty, the inability to pay gas and electric bills, is set to increase over the next four years. By 2016 it’s estimated that 2.8million British households won’t be able to afford central heating.

Heated homes are becoming a luxury that only a few can afford. The government considers households to be in fuel poverty when they have to spend more than 10% of their household income to heat their homes to a comfortable temperature.

Cold homes kill around 2,500 people every year. Fuel poverty is a grave national problem which needs to be tackled.

Living in a cold house exposes occupants to serious health risks such as respiratory problems, flu, depression and discomfort.

Cold, damp homes don’t only affect children and the elderly. Homeowners who cannot afford to heat their homes to the recommended 21 degrees, are all at risk of discomfort and subsequent health problems.

Small things make a big difference

The Department of Health advise homeowners to heat the most occupied rooms of the house – usually the bedrooms and living room. Hot drinks and slippers are another basic but fundamental way of keeping warm at home.

What’s being done about it?

The Green Deal retrofit programme (launched in January) will help ease fuel poverty in some areas. Older housing stock is less energy efficient, making properties harder and more expensive to heat.

The NEA is a national charity who campaign for greater energy efficiency investments to help those who are most in need.

NEA has launched its updated Fuel Poverty Action Guide, which has been produced with the support of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It provides step-by-step advice on how to identify and assist those that may be in fuel poverty.

Hard copies of this document are available free of charge by contacting claire.henderson@nea.org.uk, or can be downloaded by clicking here.

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    central heatingenergy efficiencyfuel povertygas billswinter

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