'Unfair and unbearable': 12 million people set to face fuel poverty by October

17 March 2022, 00:01

12 million people set to face fuel poverty by October
12 million people set to face fuel poverty by October. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The number of people in fuel poverty is set to increase by three million next month in the biggest fall in living standards for 50 years, the Government is being warned.

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Around 12 million people could face fuel poverty by October without government help in next week's Spring Statement, research suggests.

Labour metro mayors, the Welsh First Minister, former prime minister Gordon Brown and more than 60 Labour council leaders across Britain made a joint call for the Chancellor to offer help to families.

Research for the Alliance for Full Employment (AFFE) suggested that without emergency measures by the Government, there will be a 150% rise in Britain's fuel poor before the onset of winter.

The Labour leaders, most of whom are AFFE co-founders, signed an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak expressing their worry about the hardship facing families.

They called for a halt in the planned rise in employee national insurance rates in April and said more help was needed for energy costs for the poorest households.

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Boris Johnson on cost of living crisis

The letter said: "Six million low-income families have already lost £20 a week because of the cut in Universal Credit in October.

"Further cuts in the value of their incomes, as heating bills surge and food bills soar, will deepen the cost of living crisis they and many others face.

"These cuts are unfair and for many will be unbearable - pushing them over the edge into extreme poverty, and rendering them unable to adequately heat their homes or perhaps even provide the nutrition their children need.

"We have to find a way, because at stake is the unacceptable and avoidable suffering for millions of our fellow citizens, especially children, across our communities."

Mr Brown said research suggested that three million more people will become fuel poor in the next few weeks and 12 million could face fuel poverty by October.