Millions of households in the UK cannot afford sufficient warmth for health and comfort. A fuel poor household is one that needs to spend in excess of 10% of household income in order to maintain an adequate standard of warmth. Cold, damp homes which are inadequately heated have repeatedly been linked to ill health and early deaths amongst the most vulnerable people in society. This link between energy inefficient housing and ill health is well documented, with elderly people and young children being particularly at risk. The UK’s poor housing stock, particularly in energy efficiency terms, is one of the crucial factors to a person’s health.
The causes of fuel poverty is a combination of low income, poor quality housing, inefficient and expensive heating systems, individual circumstances and dwelling size
Fuel related benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments are available to those aged over 60. The Winter Fuel Payments helpline is 08459 151515. Cold Weather Payments are also paid to Pensioners or those claiming Income Support which is made for each week of exceptionally cold weather. The payment is made automatically to qualifying persons and a notice informing when the payments will be made should appear in the local paper.
Energy efficiency measures are outlined above under Top tips for saving energy in the home. For further information on fuel poverty contact the Energy Savings Trust on 0800 512012, National Energy Action on 0191 261 5677 or Help The Aged on 0808 800 6565