According to the latest figures, 53,272 Kent households (an average of 9% of total households) are in fuel poverty (1). In some areas of Kent the number of households in poverty is much higher than the county average. In Canterbury, Thanet, Swale and Dover fuel poverty rates of between 17-22% are concentrated in some of the most deprived wards (2).
“With wages and benefits frozen or reducing in value and energy price rises many times greater than inflation thousands of Kent people will find themselves in fuel poverty with many having to make the choice between eating and heating,” said Green Party Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver.
Energy affordability could also make the difference between life and death. Based on the latest available figures, it is estimated that during the winter of 2011, approximately 70 people in Kent died as a direct result of living in cold homes. At least 50% of these deaths were concentrated in Thanet, Swale, Shepway and Dover, some of the poorest areas in the county (3).
Said Driver: “It’s intolerable that people are allowed to die in Kent and the rest of the country simply because they can’t afford to keep warm. It should be a basic human right to be able to live in a warm home with affordable fuel bills. The Green Party calls on the Government to massively expand its programme of insulating the homes of people at risk of fuel poverty and installing more fuel-efficient heating systems. The Government should also take steps to ensure that a significant portion of the massive profits of the energy companies are directed towards making electricity and gas more affordable, rather than lining shareholder pockets.”
2. Figures extracted from above table and attached to this e-mail.3. The 2011 Hill’s Report on Fuel Poverty developed a methodology for calculating deaths directly attributable to cold homes. 10% of all excess winter deaths (700 in Kent in 2011) can be directly attributed to cold homes = 70 deaths. 50% of all excess winter deaths in Kent in 2011 were in Thanet, Swale, Shepway and Dover. See