Fuel poverty: How Glasgow households will be hit by rising gas costs

Even before the energy crisis millions of households across the UK could not afford to pay their energy bills including many in Glasgow.

What’s happening? Thousands of families living in fuel poverty in Glasgow are set to be the hardest hit this winter as wholesale gas prices reach record highs, pushing consumer energy bills up.

Why it matters: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the impending cut to the £20 Universal Credit uplift and surging energy prices could plunge people into poverty.

How is fuel poverty measured? In Scotland and Wales, families are generally classed as being in fuel poverty if they would have to spend more than 10 per cent of their income heating their home adequately.

How may people in Glasgow are in fuel poverty? The average number of households in fuel poverty in the Glasgow city council area from 2017-2019 was 292,785 - or 25.3 per cent. The estimated number of people was 74,075.

11.8 per cent of households in this same period were in extreme fuel poverty - or an estimated 34,549.

Severe impact on families: Peter Matejic, deputy director of evidence and impact at The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the rising energy prices and axing of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit would be “devastating” to around 5.5 million families across the country.

Mr Matejic said: “This historic cut will have the most severe impact in areas already experiencing high levels of fuel poverty, namely Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands.

“But wherever they live, millions of families across the country will immediately face unnecessary hardship and be forced to make impossible decisions between feeding their families, heating their homes, or paying the bills.

“If the Prime Minister wants to truly level up and improve living standards in the face of the rising cost of living, he must reverse this damaging cut or risk his premiership being defined by plunging people into poverty.”

What support is there for those living in fuel poverty?

  • The Glasgow Home Energy Advice Team can provide independent advice on energy related issues to householders on a face to face basis, in their homes.
  • The £140 Warm Home Discount, which opens on 18 October 2021, is being expanded to an extra 780,000 households, helping a total of around 3 million low-income and vulnerable households each year with the costs of heating their homes.
  • Further support includes programmes such as Local Authority Delivery Scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced four years ago the intention to establish a not-for-profit national energy company that would deliver low-cost green power to households across the country, helping to reduce fuel poverty and tackle climate change.

Speaking at the SNP party conference in 2017, she said energy would be “bought wholesale or generated here in Scotland – renewable, of course – and sold to customers as close to cost price as possible”.

A version of this article first appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld