Pensioners today urged Boris Johnson to tackle fuel poverty as it emerged that more vulnerable people than ever are struggling to pay their energy bills. More than one in four people in the capital are currently unable to meet their energy bills as rising prices and welfare reforms threaten to send even more into fuel poverty.
A report by London Councils today warns that rising fuel prices means that fuel poverty could be a key issue this winter.
A group of pensioners submitted a petition to City Hall last week calling on the Mayor to do more to assist vulnerable people across the capital who are unable to pay their bills.
Fuel poverty in London is defined as when a household has to spend more than a tenth of its income to “maintain an adequate level of warmth” after housing costs. George Durack, 87, a retired post office worker who chairs the Islington Pensioners’ Forum, today warned that elderly people could die if something is not done to combat the problem.
He said: “Something needs to be done about this. They are reducing the fuel poverty allowance and a lot of people are going to struggle.
“There are pensioners dying because of fuel poverty. It’s horrible. A lot of pensioners are really going to feel it this winter. The cost of living has already gone up so much and this just makes things much worse.”
Mr Durack added: “It has got to the point where, for a lot of pensioners, you either heat or you eat. People are going without meals – it is that bad. Something needs to be done and that is why we are taking our petition to City Hall.”
Between 2004 and 2009 domestic electricity prices increased by over 75 per cent and gas prices increased by over 122 per cent. A number of suppliers including British Gas and NPower, this year announced further price rises.
Catherine West, chairwoman of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: “Fuel poverty is a real and growing danger to low-income families in the capital. With rising living costs and fuel bills, more households face a miserable winter fighting off the cold.