Fuel poverty rises in Suffolk and Essex amid warnings of difficult winter

Someone using a central heating thermostat

New analysis has suggested that more people are likely to suffer from fuel poverty this upcoming winter. - Credit: PA

More than 77,000 households in Suffolk and Essex are considered to be 'fuel poor', according to government data. 

And of the 312 English local authorities, Ipswich was the 24th most affected, with 17.3% of households living in fuel poverty in 2019. 

This data set is the most recent and was released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in March 2021. It comes as this newspaper launches a new campaign called There with you this winter

To be considered fuel poor, a household lives in a property with low energy efficiency and would be pushed below the poverty line by housing costs and the energy bills needed to keep their homes warm and well-lit. 

Nationally, 3.2 million households across England (13.4%) were estimated to be fuel poor in 2019. 

More than 10,700 of these were in Ipswich. 

This has risen since 2018, when 10.6% of Ipswich households were considered to be living in fuel poverty, and in 2015 fewer than 9% of households fitted the criteria. 

Broken down further, one-third of all households in the Gainsborough area were reported to be living in fuel poverty. 

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West Clacton and Jaywick Sands, in Tendring, is also a heavily affected area, with 34% of households considered to be fuel poor. 

Colchester had the lowest proportion of fuel poor households in the region, ranked at 164th with 12.8%. 

New analysis by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw and Dr Antonia Keung at the University of York has suggested that more people across the UK are likely to suffer from fuel poverty this upcoming winter.

Their research estimates 3.4 million households – covering 6.3 million adults and children – will be unable to pay escalating gas and electricity bills this winter without cutting back on food bills. 

Councillor Richard Kerry, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for housing, said: "East Suffolk Council provides support, on behalf of all Suffolk councils, to residents struggling to pay their fuel bills or keep warm.  

"The service can include a home energy survey and bespoke advice on what to do to stay warm and save money, as well as signposting residents to sources of help with bills, insulation and extra heating.  

"Contact via phone 03456 037 686 or email whhp@eastsuffolk.gov.uk."