Fuel poverty concerns in region

MORE than 131,000 households in the east are in “fuel poverty”, according to a report commissioned by the Government.It means they are spending more than ten per cent of their income on heating their home properly - prompting researchers to urge local authorities and health services to help those most in need.

MORE than 131,000 households in the east are in “fuel poverty”, according to a report commissioned by the Government.

It means they are spending more than ten per cent of their income on heating their home properly - prompting researchers to urge local authorities and health services to help those most in need.

Fuel poverty is primarily caused by low household income, but poor quality housing and the cost of energy are also influencing factors.

The research shows more than 18,000 households in Suffolk and 17,500 in north and mid-Essex are officially in “fuel poverty”.

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern Suffolk, said: “I wouldn't be at all surprised if the statistics showed that the majority of those households were retired people.

“Research does show that when bills go up - such as gas, electricity and council tax - retired people spend a bigger proportion of their income, probably because it is a fixed income. So when those absolutely basic items go up it hits older people hardest.”

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Those in fuel poverty in the East of England are being urged to contact the Home Heat Helpline, which is run by the Energy Retail Association and offers free advice, on 0800 336699.

Older people can also contact Age Concern Suffolk on 01473 257039.