'More than 72% of Scottish households expected to be in fuel poverty'

The energy price cap is expected to rise again in October.

‘More than 72% of Scottish households expected to be in fuel poverty’ iStock

More than 72% of households in Scotland are expected to be in fuel poverty in January next year, it has been estimated.

According to a new study, two-thirds of all UK households will be in fuel poverty at the start of 2023.

It comes ahead of the energy price cap rising in October, with average annual bills forecast to reach over £3,500.

The research by the University of York shows that 18 million families will be left trying to make ends meet as costs continue to soar.

Scotland would have the second highest percentage (72.8%) of households falling into fuel poverty in January 2023, according to the study.

It would be second only to Northern Ireland (76.3%) out of all of the UK regions.

Following Scotland in third is the West Midlands (70.9%) and then Yorkshire and the Humber (70.6%).

Wales is expected to have 68.7% of households in fuel poverty by that time.

London is forecast to have the lowest percentage of households (56.4%) in fuel poverty in January next year.

Boris Johnson last week with representatives from the energy sector in a roundtable meeting at No 11 Downing Street.

Johnson, however, has so far refused to introduce any further fiscal measures to help struggling families ahead of the election of his successor as prime minister in September.

In the Conservative leadership debate in Perth on Tuesday, the candidates to become prime minister both ruled out freezing energy prices.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss both rejected the call to halt the energy price cap rise due in October.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have both called for the rise to not go ahead.

Ellie Wagstaff, policy and public affairs manager, Scotland, Marie Curie, said: “It is harrowing and frightening that according to latest research by the University of York revealed 72% of households in Scotland are expected to be in fuel poverty in January next year.

“Scots are constantly being hammered with bitter blows on the cost of living, which is just spiralling out of control.

“With inflation tipping the scales at 10.1%, it’s vitally important that politicians and decision makers join forces to tackle this complex, but urgent national crisis.

“It’s worrying for all – pensioners, families, working age adults. But I’ve no doubt that it’s placing extra burden on the shoulders of terminally ill people.

“They are at heightened risk of experiencing fuel poverty, as their symptoms will often make them feel colder and they will spend increasing amounts of time at home with the heating on as their condition deteriorates.

“Shockingly, living in a house that is cold and damp can hasten a terminally ill person’s death.”

Wagstaff added: “The UK and Scottish Governments have a moral obligation to take immediate action and provide terminally ill people with targeted financial support for the continually rising costs of energy bills.

“This is why we are calling for the Scottish Government to commit to extending eligibility of the Winter Heating Assistance to terminally ill people under 65 years old as it will help reduce the risk of working age people in Scotland falling into, and potentially dying in, poverty as a result of their condition.”

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