The Isle of Wight fuel poverty figure is set to jump from its pre-Covid figure of around 9% of households to 17.6%.
Figures released by End Fuel Poverty Coalition recently (April 2022) reveal that the Isle of Wight will continue to have some of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the South East, which is only around 8.6%. The Footprint Trust estimates that the current number of fuel poor homes is around 8,000, official figures state some 6,000. Looking forward some 11,000 households will be in economic hardship. This is due to a culmination of various factors, which include; rising inflation, massive increases in the cost of domestic fuel, loss of jobs and cutting of benefits.
Speaking for the Footprint Trust charity Ray Harrington-Vail said
“Many Island households will be over £1,000 per year worse off, which means they will make choices between paying rent or buying food. Others will choose not to pay their Council Tax and instead keep their children warm. In effect Councils throughout England could experience an unofficial ‘Tax strike’ – they would then be faced with the possibility of prosecuting poor parents and pensioners and seeing them sent to prison.”
“The government has to act with real practical policies to help those in fuel poverty, not gimmicks such as the £200 loan. The Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel payments have to be increased to offset these massive rises.”
“Front-line care staff need to be trained on how to identify those fuel poverty and refer them to help agencies.
Ignoring or playing down poverty on the Island is not an acceptable policy. Our political leaders need to tell the government to act to prevent this energy crises from harming clinically vulnerable people, lack of action will lead to hospitalisation due to the effect of being in a cold home. It is not the job of the NHS to act as a hostel for the fuel poor.”
The Footprint Trust assisted over 1,400 fuel poor Island households in the last year, providing tailored guidance and practical measures through grants and other support. Saving most homes around £200 on their utility bills. To get support or help with your energy queries please contact the Trust by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 01983 822282.