While our MP Damian Collins received taxpayers cash to heat his second home, 11% of households in the Folkestone & Hythe District were living in fuel poverty in 2020, according to the latest data available. However, that figure is likely to be higher, as a household in a property with an energy efficiency rating of C or better cannot be defined as being in fuel poverty, regardless of their income, or the level of energy prices, according to the definition used by Government.
When one looks at the latest available data at ward level for 2019 and 2020, across our district, Folkestone Central has the highest levels of fuel poverty and is ranked 7th out of all 268 Kent wards. The three elected Cllrs for this ward in 2020 were: Cllr Danny Brook (FHIG) Cllr David Monk (Con) and Cllr Laura Davison (Lab).
As one can see from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy data, Hythe saw the largest rise in those being defined as living in fuel poverty, with a whooping 32% rise. Hythe at district level only has Green Cllrs, and they are Cllr Georgina Treloar, Cllr Jim Martin and Cllr Lesley Whybrow.
The percentage of households in the district defined as being in fuel poverty, rose from 9.2% in 2019, to 10.8% in 2020, a rise of 830 households.
Those who are living in rented accommodation are most likely to be in fuel poverty.
Households who pay for gas or electricity using a pre-payment meter are more likely to be in fuel poverty.
In 2019/20, according to the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCFS), the mean weekly household domestic energy expenditure was £24.75 (£1,287 per year), or if based on the median £21.39 (£1,112 per year). Then 19.2 per cent of households were spending more than 10 per cent of their net income on fuel (the conventional fuel poverty threshold). This is the latest survey-based estimate that we have, but in 2020 and 2021 there was very little change in the domestic fuel element of the Consumer Price Index.
In England, a household is defined as being in fuel poverty if:
They are living in a property with an energy efficiency of D,E,F or G
Their disposable income (income after housing costs and energy needs) would be below the poverty line
Fuel poverty is affected by three key factors:
- a household’s income,
- their fuel costs,
- their energy consumption (which in turn can be affected by the energy efficiency of the dwelling).
The fuel poverty data for 2020 does not account for the recent rapid increases in domestic energy prices.
With the 2021 fuel poverty data to be released soon, we’ll see the data and the households affected in our district get worse, as the help for energy bills was not introduced until Feb 2022, even though the price of energy has increased significantly in the UK since the summer of 2021.
If you are struggling to stay warm, then warm banks are available and a map of where they are across the UK, including our district can be found by clicking this link
The Shepway Vox Team
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