Fuel costs pushing residents into debt
INCREASED costs of gas and electricity are pushing people into debt.
That is the finding of a survey by Shepway Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
Social policy co-ordinator Sarah Sayer said: “Fuel poverty is tied in with poor housing.
“The cost of fuel is a trigger factor pushing people into debt. These utilities are a necessity that many just cannot afford.”
Fuel poverty is defined as where more than 10 per cent of a household’s income goes on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth.
CAB says help is available for those struggling to meet fuel bills. As well as lobbying energy suppliers to ensure poorest families have access to the cheapest prices, CAB advises: Shop around for the best deal Speak to your supplier and check that you are on the best tariff for you
Ask about social tariffs which offer cheaper prices to those on low income, older people or those with long-term ill health
Check energy efficiency schemes – over-60s are entitled to winter fuel payments and under-60s on low income could get cold weather payments
Of 30 cases taken from CAB’s debt work between July and November 70 per cent of cases were in fuel poverty and in 17 per cent of cases, more than 20 per cent of income went on fuel costs.
CAB has seen a six-fold increase in the number of its clients with fuel debts since January, 2007.
For more information contact CAB on 08444 994118 or go to www.shepwaycab.co.uk