Fuel Poverty Now Hitting Middle Classes
By Katie Anderson on July 6, 2011
With nearly a quarter of UK households facing fuel poverty, research by uSwitch.com has indicated that 15% of middle class families are now classed as fuel poor.
To be qualified as fuel poor, households need to be spending at least 10% of their income on energy bills. What has traditionally been regarded as a problem faced by low-income families, it seems more affluent households are now struggling to meet the cost of their annual gas and electricity bill.
With annual energy bills having jumped by an average of £500 over the past five years, to date some 6.3 million families are in fuel poverty and levels are expected to rise to almost 9 million as energy providers pass on further increases in the cost of wholesale energy to their customers, according to uSwitch.com.
“Rocketing energy prices mean that the middle classes are no longer immune to social ills such as fuel poverty,” said Ann Robinson, the director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com.
“The fact is that we can now find the fuel poor amongst all walks of life and in all types of households,” she added
A third of households with an income of up to £30,000 a year are in fuel poverty, whilst single parent households remain the worst affected, with 39% being classified as fuel poor.