Families living in fuel poverty in rural areas of Wales are set to be left £450 poorer than urban ones by October’s energy price rise, research commissioned by the Welsh Liberal Democrats has revealed.
The analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that the average “fuel poverty gap,” the additional income that would be needed to bring a household to the point of not being fuel poor, is set to rise to a staggering £1,050 in rural areas in October. This compares to a projected fuel poverty gap of £600 in urban areas. It means fuel-poor homes in rural areas will need around twice as much support to bring them out of fuel poverty as those in urban areas.
Meanwhile, rural households with the poorest insulation rating (energy efficiency rating of F or G) are expected to see a shocking average fuel poverty gap of £3,350.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats want to see the new Prime Minister provide extra support with energy bills for people living in rural communities, warning they risk becoming the “forgotten victims” of the crisis. This includes extra support for off-grid homes reliant on heating oil which isn’t subject to Ofgem’s energy price cap.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds said:
“The Conservatives have had months to set out a plan to tackle soaring energy bills. Instead families and pensioners have been left worrying at night about how they will get through the winter and their concerns look far from over.
“Families in rural communities are set to be hardest hit by this tsunami of soaring heating costs.
“The new energy package must take into account the rural fuel poverty gap and provide extra targeted support for those who need it. That must include those in off-grid homes who rely on heating oil or other energy sources.
“People living in the countryside are fed up with being overlooked and taken for granted by the Conservatives. They must not be allowed to become the forgotten victims of this energy crisis.”