2.6 million poor children miss out on crucial fuel poverty support
Only 1 in 3 of UKâs poorest children are benefitting from the governmentâs Warm Home Discount, leaving as many as 2.6 million children out in the cold, new analysis from The Childrenâs Society has found.
As temperatures plummeted as low as -10c in part of England and Wales this winter, the Childrenâs Society estimates that two thirds of the UKâs 3.9 million children living in poverty are missing out on help from the Warm Home Discount.
Although all low-income pensioners automatically get a Â£140 discount on winter fuel bills, poor families with children have to apply to energy suppliers, with no guarantee that they will receive the support they need.
Analysis from The Childrenâs Society found that families with children spend around Â£1550 per year on average on their fuel bills – around Â£300 per year more on average than households without children. Ensuring low income families with children receive the Warm Home Discount would be a start in addressing this gap.
The Childrenâs Society has found that many poor families simply donât know they may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount, and that many of the most vulnerable families arenât getting the help they need. The charity is calling for the government to automatically entitle low-income families with children to the extra support with heating costs.
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Childrenâs Society, said: âLiving in a cold home puts childrenâs health at risk. Parents are doing the best they can on stretched incomes but all too often they simply canât afford to put the heating on.
âThe government should be doing all it can to ensure that children have warm, dry homes. As energy costs rise, this support is needed more than ever.â