Fuel poverty and living in a cold and damp home, is a major contributory factor to health issues such as respiratory diseases, heart diseases, circulatory diseases, and mental health problems. It also contributes towards increased winter deaths, repeat visits to GPs and admissions to hospitals, putting a massive strain on the NHS and local services.
Addressing fuel poverty and cold homes can have many benefits, for the household, local communities and the economy.
Some of these benefits include –
- Improved health
- better standards of living and condition for people with low incomes
- improved and more energy efficient houses
- fewer avoidable winter deaths
- reduced costs for the health, wellbeing and care services.
Fuel poverty figures have been on the rise over the last ten years and Blackburn with Darwen is within the worst 20% of local authorities in England for fuel poverty.
What is Fuel Poverty?
There are many definitions of what fuel poverty is. There are many complicated and different definitions; however, a simple explanation is –
A household is said to be in fuel poverty when its members cannot afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost, given their income.
It is generally agreed that the fuel poverty is caused by an amalgamation of three factors; Household income, energy costs and the energy efficiency of the property.
How is Fuel poverty measured?
The Low Income High Cost (LIHC) indicator is the official fuel poverty indicator used in England. It classes a household as being in fuel poverty if its required energy costs are above the average (median) or its household type and this expenditure pushes it below the poverty line.
The three factors, which effect Fuel poverty, are Energy Efficiency, Energy Prices and Incomes.