Almost a quarter of a million East Midlands households will be suffering from fuel poverty this winter, new figures have revealed.
Data from fuel poverty charity National Energy Action suggests that 246,838 households will be unable to “adequately heat their homes” during the winter.
It comes ahead of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, taking place on February 15, which aims to raise awareness of the “four million households in the UK who cannot afford proper heating for their homes”.
The charity also estimates that, in the East Midlands, 1,260 people died as a direct result of fuel poverty last year.
Adam Scorer, chief executive of the charity, said: “Everybody has the right to live in a warm and safe home but tragically, many people died needlessly last winter because of cold homes.
“Living in a cold damp home can also lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as young children, older people, and those with long term sickness and disabilities.”
Gloria De Piero, Labour MP for Ashfield, suggested that this needs to change.
She said: “Around one in 10 households in the UK live in fuel poverty, which is unacceptable in this day and age.
“Eradicating fuel poverty is a statutory target of the government, but the Tories have shown a lack of political will to address the causes.
“We need proper insulation for older properties and we must ensure new ones are built to higher energy efficiency standards.
“The government should also ensure gas prices do not spiral out of control.”
As part of its Fuel Poverty Awareness Day campaign, the charity is also calling for the introduction of a new national ‘clean growth fuel poverty challenge fund’.
Mr Scorer says this will provide “necessary central investment to tackle the cold homes crisis once and for all”.
Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield, said the government is working to eradicate fuel poverty.
He said: “No one should live in a cold home.
“The government is addressing fuel poverty in a number of ways, so that it can continue to provide more than two million low-income and vulnerable households with a £140 rebate on their energy bill each winter.
“Winter fuel payments also provide all pensioner households with additional financial support worth up to £300, and cold weather payments provide relief to the elderly, the vulnerable and those in need extra support, during spells of cold weather.”