Renters hardest hit by fuel poverty
People in rented accommodation are more likely to need support with their energy bills, according to new figures.
Analysis of people supported by the British Gas Energy Trust in 2022/23 shows that more than three quarters (77%) of our beneficiaries were renting their property either privately, from a social housing provider or from a local authority.
Thousands of these homes were also classed as not being energy efficient, worsened by the fact over a third (35%) of the people we supported had a health condition which put them at a higher risk of cold-related illnesses.
Delving deeper into our figures, collated from monitoring reports completed by charities we fund, up and down Britain, almost two in five (39%) of the people we helped last year could not access or struggled to use the internet. This is a huge issue when most information, advice, and guidance, as well as switching services, takes place online in the modern day. A further 16% of our beneficiaries also said they had communication issues.
Research released by the National Housing Federation in 2021 showed that social housing tenants were struggling even before the cost-of-living crisis, with 79% of residents who claimed Universal Credit struggling to pay for things like heating.
Ros Halley, our British Gas Energy Trust Head of Programmes, said: “As we progress through the cost-of-living crisis, we are becoming increasingly aware that some people are really struggling much more than others. While most are finding these times tough, some people must keep using energy just to stay alive.
“Charities that we work with have told us very openly that there are a lot of people who should have their heating on, but simply can’t afford to – people who have cancer feel the cold more, people on dialysis need to use more electricity to run their life-saving equipment and people who simply can’t move as much through no fault of their own need to be able to warm up in other ways.
“That is why it is so important we spread the word about the support that is available to people who are struggling. All the organisations we fund work in their local communities. They know how to reach people in appropriate ways – with many offering outreach at much more accessible locations like at supermarkets, GP surgeries or even in the workplace or at schools.”
If you are stuggling to pay your energy bills, check out our Bounce Back Checklist or search for a Trust funded charity near you to make sure you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. Once you’ve had money and energy advice you may be eligble for a energy debt grant.
You don’t have to be a British Gas customer to receive our support – last year, almost three quarters of the people we supported were customers from other energy providers.
*Figures from April 2022- March 2023 British Gas Energy Trust Supporting Communities at Risk funding programme monitoring reports. Last year the Trust funded 57 projects across Britain.