Fuel poverty still exists despite PBR

Gordon Brown stated that as of next year, “an extension of Warm Front and going community by community will make it possible for 300,000 pensioner and other households most vulnerable to fuel poverty to have free insulation and central heating”.

But Tony Herbert from Citizens Advice commented: “The additional £7.5 million to improve the effectiveness of The Warm Front initiative is welcome – we hope that this is with immediate effect in order to be of benefit to vulnerable people such as low-income families and pensioners this winter.

“We are however disappointed that the government is not extending winter fuel payments as we have asked to include poor households, disabled people, chronically ill and low income families, as well as pensioners.”

Fuel poverty exists when ten per cent or more of a household income is spent on fuel bills, something that can play havoc with a debt management plan.

Shona Dobbie, head of the Alliance Trust Research Centre, added that while the chancellor’s plan “looks quite generous”, gas prices have risen by 41 per cent in the 12 months to October, making the winter fuel payment fall “significantly” in real terms.

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