Fuel poverty in Richmondshire worse than London and Manchester, campaigners claim

Campaigners say that the fuel poverty crisis is worse in Richmondshire than in big cities such as London and Manchester.

Following the increase in energy bills coming into effect on April 1, researchers say more than 6.3m households are now living in fuel poverty.

In the Richmond parliamentary constituency 14,000 households are now faced with fuel poverty, which equates to 29.7 per cent of the local population.

The numbers in wider Richmondshire are also among the worst in rural England at 32.3 per cent.

This means Richmondshire has similar levels of fuel poverty as Middlesbrough and higher levels than places such as Salford in Manchester and parts of London, such as Wandsworth.

Simon Francis, from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “Energy prices were rocketing before the Russian invasion of Ukraine as this data shows.

“Since 2019 households across the country have been feeling the squeeze as the implications of the  Government’s inaction on fuel poverty have been realised.

“Charities and campaigners have been warning for years that fuel poverty is a social justice crisis, a public health emergency and a national security priority, but the Government took little action.

“We need to see urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and investment in a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix.”

The campaigner group is calling on Chancellor and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak to step in to help.

“The Government has talked about this for long enough, but fails to match words with action.

“That even the suffering on the Chancellor’s own door step is failing to make him act sends a very worrying message to the constituents who are facing stark choices in the months ahead.”

Paul Dixon, rural evidence manager at Action with Communities in Rural England, said: “Rural residents have some of the hardest to heat homes.

“Additionally, about a million households rely on heating oil which has increased in price by more than three times since the same period last year.

“Government must recognise and address the particular vulnerabilities of people in this situation.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out measures in his Spring Statement which he said aimed to combat soaring energy, food and fuel prices.

He cut fuel duty by 5p but resisted calls to scrap April’s National Insurance rise of 1.25p in the pound, warning the UK’s post-pandemic recovery had been blown off course by the war in Ukraine.