Barking and Dagenham has worst rate of fuel poverty in England, figures show
- Credit: LBC
Barking and Dagenham has the worst rate of fuel poverty in England, figures show.
More than one in five households (22.5 per cent) in the borough cannot afford to heat their homes, compared to the national average of 13.4pc.
Government figures published on Thursday, April 29, show that 16,738 out of 74,494 households are in fuel poverty in Barking and Dagenham.
The charity, National Energy Action (NEA), has warned more help is needed to address the physical and mental health impacts of cold homes.
Its chief executive, Adam Scorer, said: "Almost 17,000 households in Barking and Dagenham cannot afford to keep their homes warm.
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"They are likely to be living in cold, damp and unsafe properties. It makes illnesses - such as respiratory and circulatory diseases - worse and takes a toll on mental health."
He added while the people affected are hit the hardest, fuel poverty also places an avoidable strain on health and social services.
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"Warm homes should be a basic right for all. In Barking and Dagenham, they are a pressing priority," Mr Scorer said.
The borough's figure compares to second-worst Stoke-on-Trent, where 25,134 households out of 115,172 struggle to heat their homes, a rate of 21.8pc.
Neighbouring Newham has the third-highest rate in England, with 23,569 households out of 108,572 in fuel poverty (21.7pc).
Mr Scorer said: "Unaffordable bills are a struggle all year, but we know when it’s cold outside people will turn to dangerous ways to cope.
"We know people feel they need to rely on unserviced heating appliances despite the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, fires or even explosions.
"People will be living in one room, going to bed for large parts of the day and relying on candles to keep their bills lower."
He added Covid-19 has made matters worse because people had to stay at home using more energy, but often earning less to cover the cost.
A household is fuel poor if it is living in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D, E, F or G, and its income after housing costs and energy needs are below the poverty line.
Fuel poverty statistics draw on data from the English Housing Survey and local authority level figures are based on modelling which includes census data.