West Midlands suffers highest rate of fuel poverty in England

The West Midlands has been revealed to have the highest rate of fuel poverty in England.

New Government statistics show more than one in six households in the region are trapped in cold homes.

They show 17.5 per cent in the region can’t heat their homes affordably, compared to the England average of 13.4 per cent.

Of the 10 local authority areas with the highest rates of fuel poverty in England, half are in the West Midlands region, including Wolverhampton which is fifth in the list at 21.1 per cent, Sandwell in seventh at 20.9 per cent and 10th-placed Walsall at 19.4 per cent.

Charity National Energy Action is warning that more help is needed locally and nationally to address the physical and mental health impacts of cold homes.

Adam Scorer, chief executive at NEA said: "More than one in six households in the region cannot afford to keep their homes warm. They are likely to be living in cold, damp and unsafe properties. It makes illnesses, such as respiratory and circulatory diseases, worse, and takes a toll on their mental health.

Strain

"While those affected are hit the hardest, it also places an avoidable strain on local health and social services.

“Unaffordable bills are a struggle all year, but we know that when it’s cold outside people will turn to dangerous ways to cope. We know that people feel they need to rely on un-serviced heating appliances despite the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, fires or even explosions.

"People will be living in one room, going to bed for large parts of the day and relying on candles to keep their bills lower.

“Covid-19 has made this worse. People have been required to stay home, using more energy, owing more for that energy and often earning less to pay for it.

"Candidates are standing to be the next Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority. Fuel poverty is a national scandal, but there is much more that can be done locally to avoid the West Midlands continuing to have one of the worst fuel poverty rates in England.

"Warm homes should be a basic right for all. In the West Midlands they are a pressing local priority.’’

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