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Millions forced to choose between eating or heating

MILLIONS of households across Britain are still living in fuel poverty despite the government’s £6 billion “flagship” scheme to tackle the problem.

A household is described as being in fuel poverty if over 10 per cent of its income is spent on heating.

Energy advisor uSwitch revealed yesterday that of the 3.4 million households living in fuel poverty across Britain, 1.6m will be forced to choose between heating and eating this winter.

The figures have been released ahead of Fuel Poverty Awareness day today. They also come a day after the release of an annual report showing there had been an estimated 23,200 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2018-19.

Fuel Poverty Action campaigner Ruth London puts the crisis partly down to the policies of the last two governments.

“I’m appalled at what’s happened under the Tory and coalition government,” she told the Morning Star.

“Cuts to house insulation schemes, stopping legal aid — which prevents tenants holding landlords to account — and benefit changes have all increased fuel poverty.”

Ms London highlighted the detrimental effect of universal credit on families, which she said has “made it impossible for people to heat their homes.”

She said: “People are working two jobs and still can’t afford to put on the heating.

“We are seeing scandalous levels of poverty in one of the richest countries in the world.”

Last year the Tories pledged £6 billion to tackling fuel poverty, which includes measures to install energy-efficient boilers and installation into fuel poor homes.

But in July, campaign group National Energy Action warned that it would currently take 96 years for the government to reach its own targets on upgrading homes.

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