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Citizens Advice responds to fuel poverty statistics

14 July 2011

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:

"Worrying fuel poverty figures released today by Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) mean 5.5 million people in the UK now face living in freezing conditions through self-rationing and disconnection – with tenants in the private rented sector among those at highest risk of fuel poverty.

"Since the start of the recession CABs have seen a big increase in people coming for help because they can't afford to pay their gas and electricity bills – last year alone we advised on over 100,000 fuel debt problems. It is vital that the Government now commits to meeting the statutory target to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016.

"Living in a cold home has a devastating impact on people's physical and mental health. With energy prices continuing to rise the Government urgently needs to take action to improve the energy efficiency of people's homes so that they are cheaper to heat.

“As 42 per cent of tenants in the coldest privately rented homes live in fuel poverty, we are calling on the Government to use the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament to make it an offence to let or re-let a property with an energy efficiency rating lower than an EPC band ‘E’ by 2016.

“CAB works with OFGEM to deliver the 'Energy Best Deal' scheme which helps people save money on their energy bills. We encourage anyone already in debt or worried about how they will pay their bills to contact their local CABs for free, independent and confidential advice on the best deal for them, whether they should switch, and how to do that."

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors

  1. For more information on the Energy Best Deal campaign: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/fsfl_projects_energybestdeal
  2. Other useful resources on fuel costs from CAB:
    www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/fuel_costs_and_saving_money
    www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/g_selfhelp_fuel_debt.pdf
    www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/gas_and_electricity
  3. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information: www.adviceguide.org.uk
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 7.1 million problems from April 2009 to March 2010, an 18% increase on the previous year. For full 2009/2010 service statistics: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/press_20100517
  6. Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable. (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
  7. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,300 service outlets across England and Wales.