It is widely reported that the UK is in a cost-of-living crisis.

Fuel costs and the cost of heating a home have increased significantly over the last 12 months. A household is in fuel poverty if they are on a low income and face high costs of keeping adequately warm.

Fuel poverty is driven by three main factors: household income, the current cost of energy and the energy efficiency of the home.

It is fair to project that the health conditions associated with fuel poverty and cold homes will increase in prevalence in Cheshire and Merseyside in winter 2022/23.

Those on lower household incomes are more likely to be at risk of fuel poverty, contributing to social and health inequalities.

People living in lower income households are more likely to respond to rising costs of energy by cutting energy use below safe levels. Ian Ashworth, the lead Director of Public Health on health inequalities has reported to the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership on the problem and recommended actions to tackle the challenge of fuel poverty this coming winter.

This report from the Institute of Health Equity, ‘Fuel Poverty, Cold Homes and Health Inequalities in the UK’, comes at a crucial time as poverty and inflation increase rapidly; 55% of UK households are forecast to fall into fuel poverty by January 2023 without additional interventions, risking far greater damage to health and higher rates of death associated with living in a cold home.

This report reviews the evidence on both the direct and indirect impacts of fuel poverty and cold homes on health; the inequalities in who this effects the most, and the relation between health inequalities and climate change.

The report makes the case for prioritising reducing fuel poverty through policy suggestions at both the national and local level. The report has particular relevance for Cheshire and Merseyside as two of the report authors, Alice Lee and Ian Sinha, are consultants in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

To read the full report visit: 

Additional supporting documents courtesy of Hertfordshire Behaviour Change Unit 

Engaging with local communities to support behaviour change 

Supporting residents with the increased cost of living