Fact-file: Families and fuel poverty

Written by Pedro Guertler on . Posted in ACE Research, Projects

It is widely recognised that fuel poverty has severe effects on some of the most vulnerable people in society. However, while attention has focussed on older people in fuel poverty, families and children have been relatively neglected.

Channel 4 © 2013

Channel 4 © 2013

Until now, the scale of the problem for families has been poorly understood. Some evidence comes from a Barnardo’s survey in which over 90 per cent of their staff said they worked with families in fuel debt. To pay their energy bills, many families were cutting back on essentials such as heating and food.

It is clear that fuel poverty can have severe and life-long effects on children. Studies show that long-term exposure to a cold home can affect weight gain in babies and young children, increase hospital admission rates for children and increase the severity and frequency of asthmatic symptoms. Children in cold homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from breathing problems, and those in damp and mouldy homes are up to three times more likely to suffer from coughing, wheezing and respiratory illness, compared to those with warm, dry homes.

What’s more, struggling with high energy bills can impact adversely on the mental health of family members. Fuel poverty may even affect children’s education, if health problems keep them off school, or a cold home means there is no warm, separate room to do their homework.

It is vital that we understand the problem of fuel poverty for parents and children, and that future policies provide the support that these vulnerable families urgently need. This fact-file, prepared with the support of the Energy Bill Revolution, Barnado’s and Save the Children, provides a snapshot of families and (dependent) children in fuel poverty at the start of this year. It provides high-level estimates for the UK, England and the Devolved Nations. It then goes on to explore the nature and composition of fuel poverty amongst families and children, specifically in England. The fact-file and other resources can be downloaded below.

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Comments (6)

  • Brian Smith

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    Fuel poverty is a crime against humanity. Added debt with the Green Deal does not help eliminate poverty. But does help increase Big Six shareholder dividends…

    Reply

  • Fuel Poor Children In London | energy for london

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    [...] 2013: New analysis undertaken for the Energy Bill Revolution by the Association of Conservation of Energy (ACE) “provides a snapshot of families and (dependent) children in fuel poverty at the start of [...]

    Reply

  • Kirsten Cook

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    Loved this report and the video. I coordinate a team of affordable warmth advisors at Changeworks in Edinburgh. We are about to start a new project in Midlothian, to combine energy advice and food waste prevention advice for families in or at risk of Fuel Poverty, in Midlothian, Called Canny Families. This video and report perfectly demonstrates the urgency of addressing the high cost of energy, and the effects of cold homes on peoples lives. Our new project will help families save money on their food and energy bills.

    Reply

    • Pedro Guertler

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      The project sounds great. Do let me know me know if you’d be interested in writing a guest blog article on our site about it, when the time is right.

      Reply

  • graham farrall

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    We represent a manufacturer of nano-tech breathable energy saving coatings with over 40 years in productoin accredited with ISO 15148+ISO14001+ ISO9001 They are economical to purchase and apply , and with a supply and apply service a reduced of vat at 5% can be charged to the householder However the bigger picture is tackling fuel poverty and creating jobs , and here lies the answer we in the UK need to be more pragmatic in our approach THERE IS THE NEED – WE HAVE THE PRODUCT – WHERE ARE THE DECISION MAKERS ?

    Reply

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