More than one in ten of all households in Yorkshire’s biggest towns and cities are living in fuel poverty, new figures have revealed.
The proportion of homes that can’t afford adequate heating is as high as 13 per cent in Bradford, with national campaigners warning that the problem will not be solved in the lifetime of a child born today on current rates of progress.
According to analysis by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket.com, the average ‘fuel poverty gap’ in Yorkshire, meaning the amount needed per household to achieve the minimum heating standard, is £331.
Staff at the price comparison site also say parts of the UK are wasting as much as £115 on inefficient boilers, bulbs, and insulation, as well as by leaving household electronics on standby.
And it is feared that with temperatures dropping quickly, many more areas of the UK may be at risk of slipping into fuel poverty over the coming months.
Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket.com, said: “It is upsetting to think of so many households in fuel poverty where some of the most significant ways of helping this are not being taken advantage of.
“Many of these households will still be on the most expensive tariffs and could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching, even to a tariff from the same supplier.
“For those most struggling, many suppliers have schemes and initiatives to help. So the advice has to be to do a comparison and switch to a cheaper tariff (get someone to help you if you are unsure what to do) and always keep in touch with your supplier on ways they can help you.”
In the UK, a person is regarded as living “in fuel poverty” if he is a member of a household living on a lower income in a home which cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost”.
Thirteen per cent of households in Bradford, more than 26,000 in total, are considered to be fuel poor, the figures suggest, the highest proportion in Yorkshire and the 11th worst in the country.
Hull has 13 per cent of households in fuel poverty, its total of 15,026 households ranking it 16th nationally, while Leeds was 22nd with 12 per cent of households, 38,613 in total, struggling to heat their homes.
Sheffield was 23rd, with 12 per cent, Doncaster 26th with 12 per cent, York at 34th with 11 per cent and Wakefield in 37th with ten per cent. The top five cities for fuel poverty were all in Scotland.
According to the figures, the average energy bill shortfall across Yorkshire and the Humber is the second lowest regional average in Great Britain, above only the North East.
Northern Ireland’s average shortfall is £680, with Wales at £557 and Scotland at £437. The English region with the highest average shortfall was the South West, at £498.
Last month a Yorkshire MP vowed to lead a national crusade against fuel poverty as two damning reports revealed the scale of the country’s care crisis this winter.
Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis vowed to work with energy suppliers, housing providers and charities to “save lives” after National Energy Action (NEA) warned it could take at least 80 years to insulate homes.
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