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Action needed on fuel poverty
YORK still needs to do more to help people struggling to heat their homes over winter, months after figures emerged showing fuel poverty had doubled in the city.
In October, The Press revealed new figures show soaring numbers of households spending a large proportion of the income just keeping their homes warm, and now council leaders have said there is still more to do to tackle the problem.
City of York Council’s draft private-sector housing strategy for 2014 to 2019 was published in October, and showed levels of fuel poverty in York had soared from eight to 16 percent since 2008.
Coun Tracy Simpson-Laing, the council’s cabinet member for housing, is now urging people to join an energy switching scheme to save money on their bills.
She said: “We know that we have to do more to help as the household incomes of all residents continue to be squeezed as inflation adds to rises in food, transport, fuel and especially utility bills, all of which impact on fuel poverty.”
The Save Money By Switching Energy campaign is run by the council and energy experts iChoosr, and launched in early December. Registration is open until February when iChoosr will start looking for better-value deals from energy companies.
A similar programme which ran in York in early 2013 saved people an average of £140 a year.
Coun Simpson-Laing said: “In early December we launched a free energy- switching service which could help more residents afford to heat their homes – or at the very least heat one room adequately – because cold can be a killer.
“Besides getting the best-priced energy tariffs, we’re also advising people in the coldest weather to turn their thermostats down by one or two degrees and run the heating for longer periods, rather than for two or three-hour bursts at a higher temperature.
“We’re also focusing on improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes, working with partners to ensure that fuel saving messages get out, and helping to reduce energy bills safely without putting older people at risk by offering practical advice while helping them to obtain the best energy tariff through the collective switch.”
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