New data shows that fuel poverty is at risk of becoming endemic in the UK at a time when the energy crisis could push one in five households into circumstances where they are unable to afford to heat their home.
In England, poverty is typically imagined as an urban phenomenon. However, a map of England published by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition shows that it’s not just inner-city areas where people are struggling to keep warm.
Analysis of fuel poverty figures and local authority data on measures taken to improve energy efficiency locally show that East Cambridgeshire and Fenland – both predominantly rural areas – have worse than average scores on the fuel poverty index. In East Cambridgeshire some 14% households are in fuel poverty and in Fenland the figure is higher at 16%.
Unfortunately, this situation does not come as a surprise to Cambridgeshire ACRE who are used to working with rural communities and understand the issues that rural residents face. Older homes in the countryside are some of the most difficult to insulate, many rely on expensive heating oil and there is hidden deprivation to be found in every village, from the far reaches of Fenland to those that ring around more affluent places like Cambridge.
Rightly, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition is calling on the government to instigate measures, including urgent financial support to the most vulnerable and the deployment of programmes to improve the energy efficiency of homes, to alleviate the financial pressures made worse by rapidly escalating fuel prices.
Cambridgeshire ACRE is working alongside environmental charity, PECT, to deliver our Cambridgeshire Home Energy Support Service project that helps households facing fuel poverty by both tackling existing fuel debt and providing support with reducing household bill. You can read more about the project on our website.