Fuel poverty may hit half of us

MORE than half of East Lindsey residents could be facing fuel poverty without changes to energy policies - a county councillor fears.

Coun Colin Davie was shocked to learn that nearly a third of the district’s residents were already classed as living in fuel poverty at a recent Environmental Scrutiny Committee meeting.

With unfavourable economic conditions he fears that this could worsen significantly in times to come.

He said: “The continued rise in energy costs and the fact that most people’s incomes are static or falling means that mane, many more households are likely to end up in fuel poverty over the next two or three years.

“I think that over 50 per cent of those living in East Lindsey could face this problem because of where and how they are living.”

Fuel poverty is defined as any household having to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel.

Due to the rural nature of East Lindsey, its limited access to gas, heavy reliance on electricity and elderly population, the district matches all of the criteria likely to cause high levels of fuel poverty.

At 31.3 per cent, it already has the highest proportion of residents suffering from the problem in the county and far exceeds the national average, estimated to be 24 per cent.

At the meeting councillors decided to set up a task and finish group to investigate the issue in a greater detail and explore mechanisms they could employ to tackle the problem.

There are already schemes in operation throughout the county offering people ways of reducing their fuel costs with subsidised insulation installation.

Coun Davie has also expressed the council’s commitment to continue investing in the Affordable Warmth and Help projects, which has been allocated in the latest business plan, to enable residents to heat their homes at an affordable cost.