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New way of calculating fuel poverty slated
1:00pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Headlines
THE number of New Forest families in “fuel poverty” have been slashed by a third – but only because the Government has changed the rules.
The number of households judged too poor to heat their homes plunged by 36 per cent overnight, because of a controversial new measure in which a household is only included where “the total income is below the poverty line and energy costs are higher than typical”.
For many years, households have been considered “fuel poor” if they spend more than ten per cent of disposable income on gas and electricity.
The switch has been sharply criticised by the Fuel Poverty Action Group, which said: “It’s very handy for the Government that, under the new definition, the problem appears to be seriously reduced.
“What this does is mask a worsening crisis of cold homes, where millions of people are facing an impossible choice between heating and eating in winter.
“At the same time, the big six energy companies are raking in sky-high profits and the Government is cutting budgets for energy-efficient measures – making the position worse.”
Meanwhile, incomes have grown far slower than prices recently, sparking warnings that more families are struggling to pay their bills.
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