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.