A further 11 local authority areas will see more than two in every five homes moving into official fuel poverty. For Fife, 34% of the population are currently living in fuel poverty and this will rise over the coming months as rising energy costs continue.
‘These price increases will move significant proportions of our communities into official fuel poor status. On average 38% of households across the country will no longer be able to afford to heat their home adequately,’ said Energy Action Scotland’s, chief executive, Frazer Scott.
‘Although moves by governments in Scotland and Westminster to alleviate these price rises are welcome, they go nowhere near far enough.’
Energy Action Scotland is urging the UK government to tax the excessive profits being made by oil and gas giants and to cut VAT on energy bills, redistribute the VAT windfall already received to help those with the lowest incomes and consider radical reforms to ensure that vulnerable fuel poor households are protected. The UK Government will tax average dual fuel households an extra £44 through higher VAT receipts. Heaping taxes upon those that can least afford to pay them.
‘We estimated that 100,000 more households would seriously struggle to heat their homes after these price rises, unfortunately, it would seem this was a vast underestimate of the extent of the problem. We urgently need government action to improve the energy efficiency of homes, particularly targeted at households that suffer the greatest rates of fuel poverty. This would ensure help is being given to those that need it the most,’ said Frazer.
Industry analysts have warned that continued volatility in wholesale energy markets could push average household energy bills up by more than £700 to £2,000 a year from April.
‘Continued inaction will cost lives. Over 2000 more people die in winter when cold damp homes reduce health and wellbeing more than they do in summer. According to the World Health Organisation around 1 in 3 of these deaths are directly attributable to living in fuel poverty. These deaths are avoidable but look set to rise as prices rocket’ he added.
Graphic shows: Estimated fuel poverty by local authority area after April’s price rises.
Concerned about these increases? Cosy Kingdom can provide free and impartial advice to anyone living in Fife.