1 in 4 cut spending on heating

6 January 2010

snowy scene

As the cold snap continues across Britain, Shelter is today releasing new research showing that one in four people are having to reduce the amount they spend on heating because of high housing costs.

In a survey, we found that 27 per cent of respondents – equivalent to 11.3 million people nationwide – said they are spending less on fuel bills to help pay their rent or mortgage.

Shockingly, this means that over 1.4 million children are living in households that are cutting down on heating.

The research was undertaken by Shelter to examine the way unaffordable housing is changing the way we live.

The findings are also particularly worrying for vulnerable people who often struggle to keep warm over the winter months. Last winter there were an extra 37,000 deaths in the England and Wales, many of these elderly people and children.

Kay Boycott, director of policy and campaigns at Shelter, said:

'It’s shocking to think that high housing costs are forcing people to make a choice between keeping warm and keeping a roof over their heads. In these extreme temperatures, those without proper heating could be risking their lives.

'While we often associate older people as being particularly affected by this issue, these figures show that almost one and a half million children could be freezing in their homes because their parents are struggling to pay unacceptably high housing costs.'

Ms Boycott continued: 'The housing crisis is spiralling out of control and we can no longer ignore the huge repercussions this is having on people’s lives. Tackling the lack of affordable housing in Britain must be a priority for all political parties and a key election issue for us all.'

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