Cost of Living Crisis: Study finds 243 ‘hotspots’ in Kent at greatest risk from rising energy bills

Residents in Swale, Thanet and Folkestone & Hythe will be hit hardest by spiralling energy prices as the crisis deepens this week, a study has shown.

The areas contain the largest number of “energy crisis hotspots”, where communities are at greatest risk of serious financial hardship as a result of unaffordable energy costs, according to Friends of the Earth.

An analysis by the environmental group identified 243 “hotspots” across Kent  where energy use is high and typical household income is below the national average.

The particular areas can be seen in the map below.

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0 | Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2021 | Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2020 | Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

In Swale  42.4% of households, or put another way 27,110 households find themselves in a energy hotspot. For Thanet this number is 27,358 households and in Folkestone & Hythe the number of households affected is 16,198.

All together across Kent districts 27% of households or slightly more than one in four, will more likely than not be having issues with the energy price increase announced by Ofgem on Friday 26 August 2022. These numbers will increase again when Ofgem next announce the increased Energy prices in Nov/Dec 2022.

The average annual energy bill is currently more than 50% higher than it was six months ago. And come Oct it is set to rise on average between 42 – 47% for those households in the energy hotspots set out above.

There is little Councils can do alone, but some are actively seeking to do something, such as Folkestone & Hythe District Council, who will hold a Cost of living summit on the 20 Sept 2022. What they can do collectively, along with Kent County Council, is write to the next Prime Minister calling for meaningful financial assistance from government for those most in need. That said  such assistance is only a short-term solution. The highest priority should be fixing Kent’s leaky, inefficient housing stock, otherwise cash handouts will be required year on year.

What needs to happen and pdq, is a free programme of street-by-street energy efficiency measures, prioritising the most in-need neighborhoods; which would help to reduce bills, make homes warmer, and shrink emissions affecting climate change at the same time.

A separate study by the New Economics Foundation showed households could make savings of between £490 and £720 each year on their bills through the speedy rollout of a council-led programme of insulation and other energy saving measures.

It’s clear that many across Kent will suffer. This comes at a time when Kent County Council is due to cut funding to Porchlight, the homeless charity, which was announced earlier this year.

If you are concerned about your energy bills and other bills, one can turn to your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who offer free impartial advice and can help with energy problems.

The Shepway Vox Team

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1 Comment on Cost of Living Crisis: Study finds 243 ‘hotspots’ in Kent at greatest risk from rising energy bills

  1. If Monk and his cronies hadn’t frittered away £60 million on his vanity project that is Otterpool Park in Consultancy fees then that money could and should have gone to help the less well off in our Council District . But hey what do they care ?

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