Rural areas ‘hit worst by fuel poverty’

People living in rural areas may be more likely to suffer fuel poverty than their urban counterparts, new data published by the government has suggest…

People living in rural areas may be more likely to suffer fuel poverty than their urban counterparts, new data published by the government has suggested.

Fuel poverty is defined as a situation in which over ten per cent of a household's income needs to be spent to meet energy bills and those in such a situation may need debt management help as they struggle to keep up with their bills as well as paying anything else they owe money on, such as loans and credit cards.

Department for Energy and Climate Change figures for English local authority districts in 2009 revealed there were seven in which over 30 per cent of households were in fuel poverty and all were largely or entirely rural.

The highest level was at 40.9 per cent in the Isles of Scilly, followed by Eden in Cumbria at 38.3 per cent, East Lindsey in Lincolnshire (33.2 per cent), Herefordshire (32.2 per cent), West Somerset (31.7 per cent), Shropshire (30.3 per cent) and Torridge in Devon with 30.2 per cent.

High areas of urban fuel poverty included Birmingham and adjacent Sandwell, both on 29 per cent.

By contrast, there were 16 authority areas where less than ten per cent were in fuel poverty, which varied from urban locations like the City of London, Richmond-upon-Thames and Oxford to rural areas like Surrey Heath and the Vale of White Horse, but all were located in London or the south east.

The figures are likely to have increased since 2009 due to the economic situation and recent fuel price hikes.

A recent survey by Confused.com found 82 per cent of people are worried about how they will manage to pay their winter energy bills.

By James Francis
 

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