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Hundreds of thousands face fuel poverty misery due to lack of government funding - research

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Hundreds of thousands face fuel poverty misery due to lack of government funding - research

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Bill Payments and also in Central Government, Environment, Housing

Hundreds of thousands face fuel poverty misery due to lack of government funding - research Hundreds of thousands face fuel poverty misery due to lack of government funding - research

A massive shortfall in funding for insulation programmes for low-income households will leave the Government's fuel poverty target in tatters, according to a new report published today.

Research undertaken by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) shows that hundreds of thousands of households will be living in poorly insulated properties by 2016 – the date by which the Government undertook to eradicate fuel poverty in England.

The figures show that even on the most optimistic estimates, 45% of fuel-poor households who could benefit from cavity wall insulation – the single most cost-effective energy-saving measure – will be excluded from support as a result of inadequate funding.

The warning comes as charities National Energy Action (NEA) and Energy Action Scotland (EAS) launch the Warm Homes Campaign today. The UK wide campaign aims to raise awareness of the increasing number of cold homes and highlight the benefits of helping those struggling to heat their homes.

Chief Executive of National Energy Action (NEA), Jenny Saunders OBE, said: “The UK Government is fully aware that millions of households are currently unable to heat their homes to a standard that will protect their health and well-being.

"Warmth is a top political issue and we are fully committed to supporting the heating and insulation programmes that already exist; however we are increasingly concerned about the consequences of the decision to reduce resources in this area.

“Without investing public money in warmth, we believe the UK will see increased health costs at a local and national level, increased levels of fuel debt, reduced numbers of contactors employed within the energy efficiency industry and, inevitably, increased levels of fuel poverty. We hope this campaign will show that by investing in warmth and upgrading Britain’s coldest homes it is possible to improve millions of people’s lives while boosting the economy and creating local jobs."

Director of Energy Action Scotland (EAS), Norman Kerr, added: “We all recognise that there are many competing priorities for public expenditure through this period, however cold homes cost money. Ill health caused by cold, damp housing is estimated to cost health and social services more than £1 billion every year across the UK. Health services face high demand during periods of prolonged cold weather and much of this demand stems from ill health resulting from cold homes.

“From this year onwards HM Treasury will accrue huge revenues from hard-pressed domestic energy consumers. We know that without radical change the most severe impacts of the cold will continue to be felt by many of the poorest and most vulnerable households and communities. We hope to demonstrate the major positive outcomes that would result from ambitious and adequately resourced action on cold homes”.

Throughout the campaign, a number of events will be organised to demonstrate the work that is being done at a local level to tackle fuel poverty. NEA and EAS members, stakeholders, MPs and other politicians, and members of the public will also be asked to help highlight the issues by tweeting and emailing images that capture some of the key themes.

Anyone concerned about their bills this winter is being urged to call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99 to find out what help they may be eligible for.

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