Quarter of mothers forced to turn their heating off to afford food for their children: Survey warns of increase in 'fuel poverty'

  • Survey finds 56 per cent of families turn heating off when children leave
  • Bill increase causing people to use blankets and extra clothing to keep warm
  • Experts say number of households suffering fuel poverty will double by 2016


PUBLISHED: 20:19 EST, 5 January 2013 | UPDATED: 20:19 EST, 5 January 2013
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Soaring energy bills are forcing one in four mothers to turn off their heating in the depths of winter in order to afford food for their children.

Fuel poverty is resulting in thousands of families resorting to wearing extra clothes and using blankets in their homes.

More than half of families turn off the heating in their houses when the children are out, while 45 per cent of adults keep warm using blankets or duvets during the day, according to a survey.

Struggle: A survey found that 23 per cent of families are having to choose between using heating in their homes or feeding their children, while others are using extra clothes and blankets to keep warm in winter

Fuel bills have already soared by eight per cent this winter, but costs are expected to rise further in coming months.

Experts have warned that the number of households suffering fuel poverty, whereby heating bills account for more than a tenth of a family's income, will double to nine million by 2016.

Worry: Experts have warned that the number of households suffering fuel poverty could double by 2016

A shocking 23 per cent of families are already having to choosing between buying food or using heating, according to a survey by the Energy Bill Revolution campaign.

A fifth of respondents said that their children were ill more regularly as a result of colder homes.


The poll questioned 1,000 members of the Netmums website and found that 88 per cent of respondents are more concerned about fuel bills this year compared to last.

Sally Russell, the founder of Netmums, said: 'These are impossible choices for families to make.

'With almost nine in 10 families now rationing energy use due to spiralling prices, this signals a new winter of discontent for British families.'

Ed Matthew, the director of Energy Bill Revolution, said: 'No one should have to make the choice between feeding their family and heating their home.'

The campaign is urging the Government to use money from the carbon tax to insulate housing, which campaigners argue could reduce bills by £300.

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