Fuel poverty in Brighton and Hove soars by 20%

Diana Hinton-Davies

Diana Hinton-Davies

First published in News by

Hundreds more people are living in fuel poverty compared to two years ago, according to the latest figures.

More than 17,000 households in Brighton and Hove are battling to heat their homes – an increase of almost 20% from 2011.

Widow Diana Hinton-Davies told how she had to fix camping roll-mats to her windows and sleep in a hat and gloves to stay warm.

The 67-year-old from Whippingham Road, Brighton, is not suffering alone in the Brighton Pavilion constituency which has more than 5,800 households in fuel poverty.

Mrs Hinton-Davies has lived in a converted church for 22 years which has large open windows, without any glass, which allows wind and rain to blow through into the communal foyer.

Last winter she could only afford to keep the one room she lived in at 10C and said that for most of the time she was “freezing”.

But after contacting her local MP Caroline Lucas, Hyde Martlet Housing Association agreed to install double glazing in her home.

Her burden has also been eased further by switching energy supplier.

She said: “That level of savings makes a huge difference to me, I will be able to live a bit better, be able to buy better food and I can even afford to go out.

“I know I am better off than some with benefit cuts and minimum wage, I don’t know how those people cope.”

Windfall tax needed Dr Lucas, who is co-chair of the cross party parliamentary fuel poverty group, said she frequently received letters from constituents struggling to heat their homes and said the city’s ageing housing stock and high proportion of privately-rented homes were partly to blame for the high proportion of people living in fuel poverty.

She has called for a windfall tax on energy companies to make homes more energy efficient in a move she describes as a rare “win-win” in politics.

The Brighton Pavilion MP said: “We have a situation where the six big energy companies have more or less covered the market between them, it’s just wrong.”

She added: “This Government likes to talk about competition in the marketplace but compared to somewhere like Germany which has hundreds and hundreds of energy companies we are poorly served.

“This lack of competition means they are able to keep prices pretty high and make massive profits.”

She encouraged voters to look into Government schemes such as the Green Deal that can help with insulation and recommended residents shop around for the best energy deal.

Across the whole of Sussex almost 90,000 homes are currently in fuel poverty, a drop of almost 10% on two years ago, according to the figures released as part of Cold Homes Week.

Comments (3)

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7:24am Thu 13 Mar 14

Bob_The_Ferret says...

The way things are moving, we can be sure that Russian gas will be considerably more expensive by next winter, and extra taxation of the energy supply companies is only going to move prices in the same direction.
The way things are moving, we can be sure that Russian gas will be considerably more expensive by next winter, and extra taxation of the energy supply companies is only going to move prices in the same direction. Bob_The_Ferret
  • Score: 4

8:15am Thu 13 Mar 14

pachallis says...

AFAIK 'Fuel Poverty' is defined by the Government as being if the spendmore than than 10% of their household income (I assume net?) on fuel to keep their home in a 'satisfactory' condition.

Therefore it would be expected that as fuel costs have increased faster than pay or pensions then the number of homes in ''Fuel Poverty' will have increased.

Has the actual incidence of households suffering from lack of heating increased or is this just a result in the increased cost of energy?
AFAIK 'Fuel Poverty' is defined by the Government as being if the spendmore than than 10% of their household income (I assume net?) on fuel to keep their home in a 'satisfactory' condition. Therefore it would be expected that as fuel costs have increased faster than pay or pensions then the number of homes in ''Fuel Poverty' will have increased. Has the actual incidence of households suffering from lack of heating increased or is this just a result in the increased cost of energy? pachallis
  • Score: 0

9:55am Thu 13 Mar 14

Morpheus says...

This is a ridiculous report. It says the woman lives in a converted church with large open windows with no glass, but the photo clearly shows a photograph of a glazed window. If you live in a building as described you can expect to be cold. It isn't fuel poverty, it is stupidity. Instead of heating the building she could just stand at the window throwing out pound coins.
This is a ridiculous report. It says the woman lives in a converted church with large open windows with no glass, but the photo clearly shows a photograph of a glazed window. If you live in a building as described you can expect to be cold. It isn't fuel poverty, it is stupidity. Instead of heating the building she could just stand at the window throwing out pound coins. Morpheus
  • Score: 0

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