Fuel poverty is causing misery, ill health and premature death in millions of households across the UK.
High energy prices, dwindling household incomes and abysmally low standards of domestic energy efficiency are all contributing to a cold homes crisis. Right now, people are facing difficult choices about whether to heat their homes and forgo another household necessity such as food, or spending what they need to keep warm and avoid falling into debt.
The key to tackling this problem is improving the energy efficiency of our housing, to address the injustice that sees our poorest households spending £1 billion more a year on energy compared to non-fuel poor households. We also need to improve the quality of, and access to, energy advice and services; recognise the impact that welfare reform is having on fuel poverty levels in the UK; and ensure that all households are able to engage in the competitive energy market.
Without urgent and ambitious government intervention, NEA estimates that in the next 15 years the cumulative effect will be 125,000 premature deaths as a result of living in cold homes; £950m of fuel debt which will not be spent in local economies; and £22 billion spent by the NHS in treating cold-related conditions.