Living in a cold home can have a range of impacts on physical and mental health and treating cold-related illness is estimated to cost the NHS in England and Wales more than £2bn a year.
This year, the situation will be even more difficult. Covid-19 is squeezing household finances further and compelling people to spend more time in their homes. Some of the health conditions caused or worsened by cold homes, such as asthma and COPD, also place people at greater risk from the virus.
A survey of 73 organisations supporting people in fuel poverty during the first wave of Covid-19, conducted by charity National Energy Action, showed that 95% felt there was a moderate or high risk of more households cutting back on their energy use due to being forced to spend more time at home; and three quarters said they were concerned that there is a high risk of the increased building up of fuel debt this winter.*
This Fuel Poverty Awareness Day (27 November) Fuel Bank Foundation is joining national charity NEA and others up and down the country to highlight these issues and encourage people to seek the help that is available to keep warm at home.