Fuel poverty claims 1.7 million new victims

22 March 2007
Soaring fuel bills have plunged 1.7 million households into poverty since 2003, the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes has revealed.

Any household which spends more than ten per cent of its income on electricity and gas is defined as fuel poor, a category which now covers three million households in the UK.

The Partnership's findings will make perturbing reading for government ministers who vowed to abolish fuel poverty by 2016.

"Many people from low-income backgrounds are now faced with the unenviable choice of deciding whether to heat their homes or provide for their family," Partnership spokesperson Nicholas Doyle said.

The recent spate of price cuts from four major consumer fuel suppliers has not gone far enough, the figures suggest.

Chancellor Gordon Brown must "act quickly to show a clear determination to make energy affordable for vulnerable households", lobbyists from Citizens Advice, Energywatch, Age Concern and National Energy Action told the Guardian.

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