Money Wellness
A person tries to get warm by a radiator with a cup of tea
category iconcost of living
category iconrent & utility help
calendar icon07 Nov 2023

South feels the cold as the fuel poverty divide in England narrows

The north-south divide in fuel poverty across England has narrowed as more people in southern England struggle to pay for gas and electricity, new figures have revealed.

According to the latest Fuel Poverty Risk Index from the Open Data Institute, the highest year-on-year rises have occurred in local authorities in the south east and south west of England.

The biggest increases in fuel poverty have occurred in the local authority areas of Sevenoaks, Torridge and Mid Devon.

Despite this, people further north are still at higher risk of fuel poverty, with households in Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Birmingham faring worst.

What is fuel poverty?

The government defines fuel poverty in England as a household that:

  • is living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D or below; and
  • after spending the amount needed to heat their home to an acceptable standard is left with an income below the official poverty line

Reality could be even worse

As a result of fuel poverty figures only including homes with an EPC rating of D or below, the reality of the situation could be a lot worse than suggested. More than 3.6 million people are missing from the data and could be struggling to pay their energy bills despite living in homes with EPC ratings A-C.

Energy crisis far from over

Commenting on the latest stats, Simon Francis, the co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said:

“The data reveals that the energy crisis is far from over and is, in fact, getting worse.

“The analysis should highlight to the government and support agencies that further targeted support is urgently required during the coming cold winter months.

“The Index suggests a strong case for delivering long-term system reforms and improvements to the energy efficiency of buildings.”

Are you struggling?

If rising costs mean you’re struggling to cover all your bills, we can help with free debt advice.

Get in touch for:

  • budgeting help
  • to check you’re getting all the benefits and grants available to you
  • to find out about debt solutions that could lower your monthly payments and even wipe out some debt

All of our advice is free and impartial, so it won’t cost you anything to find out your options. If you decide to opt for a debt solution, some are free and for others there’s a charge.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

Related posts

cost of living

07 Dec 2023

TV licence fee to rise next year

The TV licence will increase by £10.50 from next April. find out what it means for you

cost of living

05 Dec 2023

Help for families who can’t afford Christmas presents for the kids

Millions of households will struggle to afford Christmas presents this year. Here's a list of the charities and organisations who help make sure every child wakes up to a gift from Santa

cost of living

05 Dec 2023

Households buying less veg because of cost of living pressures

Low-income families can’t afford to buy fresh vegetables due to huge price increases. Find out how to get cheap or free fruit and veg

cost of living

05 Dec 2023

Inflation-linked TV licence fee increase could be blocked

£15 increase to the TV licence fee may be reduced due to cost-of-living squeeze

Average Customer Rating:
Independent Service Rating based on 4013 verified reviews. Read all reviews