Fuel poverty cloud shrouds the West Midlands
The West Midlands has the second highest fuel poverty figures in the UK, falling marginally behind the North West, latest figures suggest*.
Across the region, 13.7 per cent (327,000) of households can no longer afford to keep their homes warm, and at this time of year, residents are at an increased risk of illness brought on by mounting gas and electricity debt.
On Fuel Poverty Awareness Day today (15 February) Mark Abrams, CEO of Sutton Coldfield-based Auriga Services says:
“We’re definitely seeing the region’s financial debt problems reach crisis levels.
“After years of wage stagnation and public spending cuts, a greater number of households are forced to increase their borrowing capacity and plunge further into the red.
“UK homes owe an average of £15,385 to credit cards and loans to banks and other lenders, leaving very little to pay day-to-day household bills, meaning that fuel poverty is a very real problem that’s not going to recover quickly.
“Moreover, the West Midlands is the third in the country to admit that financial debt is a heavy burden on every-day living, with those in the 34-45year age bracket admitting to be in the worst financial positions.”
Mark adds: “As a not-for-profit charity, our mission is to help two-million vulnerable people recover by 2020, and we’re well on our way to achieving this target.
“We work closely with utility providers, county councils and hospital trusts to distribute grants which have a positive impact on changing the financial lives of those most in need each and every day.”