More than half of households in the UK, or 15 million people, will have been pushed into fuel poverty by January 2023, according to a new report authored by York academics.
The report predicts that, even with the £400 fuel rebate being offered by the government, 58.5% of households will be plunged into fuel poverty in Yorkshire and the Humber, 47.5% in London and 71.7% in Northern Ireland.
People living in the poorest and coldest regions of the UK will be the worst affected along with those who are already most likely to be struggling with the cost of living. More than 80% of large families, lone parents and pensioner couples will be in fuel poverty, the authors of the report calculate.
Fuel poverty is defined as having to spend over 10% of net income on fuel. The report estimates that households living in fuel poverty will be spending on average £37.51 above this 10% threshold per month.
Co-lead author of the report Professor Jonathan Bradshaw from the Social Policy research unit at the University of York said: “This should be the main preoccupation of the Conservative leadership candidates. A new package of mitigations is urgently needed”.
The electricity and gas price cap will rise again in October 2022 and again in January 2023. The size of the increase has not yet been announced but it is expected to take average electricity and gas bills to £64.59 per week or £3359 per year. It is also expected that the January increase will take weekly bills to £69.53 or £3615.75 per year, with some sources predicting even larger increases.
The report highlights how the £400 rebate being offered by the government will reduce these bills by only £15.38 per week between October 2022 and April 2023.