More than 23,000 homes in fuel poverty across Shropshire
More than 23,000 households are in fuel poverty in Shropshire, according to latest figures.
But the realistic picture could be far bleaker according to experts, given the newest statistics don't account for the impact of the February flooding disaster and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Altogether in the county, it was calculated that 11 per cent of households are in fuel poverty, meaning their energy costs are above average and their remaining disposable income after paying their bills puts them below the poverty line.
In the Shropshire Council area, 16,826 homes are fuel poor - 5,586 in Ludlow, 5,526 in north Shropshire and 4,954 in Shrewsbury and Atcham.
In parts of Ludlow the concentrations of fuel poverty are almost a quarter of households.
In the Telford and Wrekin area, 6,607 are fuel poor - 3,572 in Telford and 3,698 in The Wrekin.
Paul Forrest, head of research at the West Midlands Economic Forum, said: “The economy is now in a somewhat different place compared to the end of 2018. Then claimant count in Shropshire level was two per cent of the available labour force.
"Following the economic easing through 2019 onwards, the flooding, the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdowns, the claimant count has accelerated to 4.5 per cent, as well up to a quarter of the labour force experiencing furlough at some stage this year. As a result, the number of households slipping into fuel poverty, this year can be expected to have risen significantly.”
The West Midlands Warm Home Save Lives (WHSL) partners (Act on Energy, Marches Energy Agency and the Sustainable Hosing Action Partnership), urged councils, organisations and individual people to support our aspirations to reduce the incidence of fuel poverty.
Simon Ross, director said: "We are seeing a big increase in the need for our services during the pandemic and we want to make sure residents know that help is available. Living in a cold home has serious negative impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, so we’re urging anyone with concerns about staying warm this winter to get in touch with us."
People struggling with energy costs, can contact Keep Shropshire Warm free on 0800 112 3743. WHSL can help with independent energy advice and support including help with billing issues, tariff switching, insulation and heating grants including first time central heating and green homes grants. Support for people in Telford is available by calling Marches Energry Agency on 0800 677 1952