How many households are living in fuel poverty in our areas?
- Credit: Archant
Fuel poverty is on the rise, with consumers facing soaring energy bills, rising food prices and a £20 cut to Universal Credit.
A household is considered to be fuel poor if they live in a property with low energy efficiency and would be pushed below the poverty line by housing costs and the energy bills required to have a warm, well-lit home.
In 2019 - the latest figures available - there were 4,534 households in fuel poverty in Stevenage out of a total of 37,653 households, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
This means 12 per cent of Stevenage households are fuel poor.
The area in Stevenage with the lowest proportion of households in fuel poverty is Bandley Hill, with 26 out of 688, while the highest is Old Town with 146 out of 715.
You may also want to watch:
Out of 57,680 households in North Herts, 6,983 were living in fuel poverty in 2019 - or 12.1 per cent.
The area of North Herts with the lowest proportion of households in fuel poverty is Chesfield, with 24 out of 575, while the highest is Letchworth South West with 151 out of 548.
- 1 7 haunted locations that will give you a Halloween fright
- 2 Man taken to hospital after crash involving mobility scooter and motorhome
- 3 Man dies after Stevenage e-scooter crash
- 4 Road closures following crash in Letchworth
- 5 Letchworth paedophile jailed for sexual activity with a child
- 6 Primary school's new garden has 'positive effect on wellbeing and learning'
- 7 Child abuse investigation dropped after hotel lost CCTV
- 8 5 of the best pumpkin picking locations in Hertfordshire
- 9 Opening of long-awaited Stevenage supermarket
- 10 Developers confirm controversial plans for Hitchin flats to go to appeal
Meanwhile the number of recipients of winter fuel payments has decreased in Stevenage and North Herts over the past 10 years.
Households with someone receiving a state pension are automatically entitled to a tax-free sum of between £100 and £300 each year towards the heating bill - with payments normally made in November or December.
In Stevenage from winter 2009 to 2010 there were 14,720 recipients of winter fuel payments, according to the Department of Work and Pensions.
The latest available data shows that in winter 2019 to 2020 there were 12,740 recipients, a decrease of 1,980, or 13 per cent.
Out of 380 local authorities, Stevenage ranks 72nd for percentage decrease.
Among the 12,740 recipients, 4,620 received £100, 1,070 received £150, 4,730 received £200 and 2,330 received £300.
Meanwhile in North Herts, there were 27,180 recipients from 2009 to 2010. By 2019 to 2020 this had decreased to 24,420 - a decrease of 2,760, or 10 per cent.
North Herts ranks 164th in the country for percentage decrease overall.
Out of the 24,420 recipients of payments, 9,700 received £100, 2,510 received £150, 8,160 received £200, and 4,040 received £300.
The Department for Work and Pensions has put the fall over the last decade down to controversial changes to the state pension age.
Successive governments have raised the state pension age for women in line with men. Hiking up the age of entitlement for women meant fewer of them could claim winter fuel payments.
The DWP says this drop more than offset the increase in the overall number of pensioners in recent years.
A DWP spokesman said: "The Government makes more than 11.5 million winter fuel payments totalling £2 billion a year to help people pay their heating bills. Nearly all are automatic without the need to claim.
"As the state pension age for women has increased since April 2010 it follows that the annual numbers eligible for payments will fall slightly."
In Stevenage the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen from 2,453 in July 2019 to 7,867 in July 2021 - an increase of 221 per cent.
And in North Herts the number of claimants has risen from 2,302 in July 2019 to 7,987 in July 2021 - an increase of 247 per cent.
Compared to the rest of the country, Stevenage is ranked 97th out of 365 local authorities in terms of percentage increase, while North Herts is ranked 65th.
Citizens Advice in both Stevenage and North Herts are urging people to get in touch if they or anyone they know needs help.
Tom Hogan, energy adviser at Citizens Advice North Herts, said: "Please don’t panic; you’ll still have gas and electricity if your energy supplier goes out of business.
"Ofgem will move you to a new supplier. This usually takes a few weeks, and your new supplier will contact you to explain what will happen with your account."
You can contact Citizens Advice North Herts on 0800 144 88 48 or email via northhertscab.org.uk.
You can contact Citizens Advice Stevenage on the same number as above, or visit https://www.stevenagecab.org.uk/