Fuel poverty

One in five homes have plunged into fuel poverty, having to spend more than ten percent of their income on keeping their home warm, new figures reveal.

This represents the highest level since 1996, but experts believe this will be a drop in the ocean once official data for 2011 is published. With most households already suffering from reduced incomes, energy companies have really put the screws in. Two of the so-called 'big six' energy companies have announced bill increases, with more expected to follow. Audrey Gallacher, Director of Energy at official energy watchdog Consumer Focus said: 'Fuel poverty levels are set to soar as energy price hikes and the cost of investment in making our energy supply more secure and sustainable kick in.

'Worryingly the predictions for fuel poverty in 2011 are likely to be an underestimate as four of the Big Six have yet to announce their expected price rises. If these are in line with the increases announced from British Gas and Scottish Power around 12 million people, or 6.4 million British households, are likely to be in fuel poverty when the latest price rises hit.'

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