New data released today shows that 6.3million households in England will wake up in fuel poverty at the beginning of April, up from 4.1million in the same period last year.
Whilst urban areas in Wolverhampton, Leeds and Birmingham top the unwelcome table of households unable to afford to heat their homes to an adequate temperature, rural areas are also being hit hard.
In parts of rural West Norfolk, North East Lincolnshire, Herefordshire and Shropshire about a third of households will experience fuel poverty, as well as in the Chancellor’s own back yard of Richmondshire, Yorkshire.
Responding to the latest revelations, Paul Dixon, Rural Evidence Manager at Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) said, “Those on lower incomes in the countryside are some of the most vulnerable to the growing fuel crisis. Rural residents have some of the hardest to heat homes. We are particularly concerned for the one million households who depend on heating oil. Members of the ACRE network that run community oil buying schemes report extreme volatility in the price of this commodity which is estimated to have risen threefold over the past 12 months. People are facing difficult choices between filling up their heating system with oil or putting fuel in their car to get to work. Government must recognise and address the particular vulnerabilities of people in this situation.”