Thousands living in fuel poverty in Hackney and Islington as cost of living crisis looms
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Thousands of families living in fuel poverty in Hackney and Islington will be forced to make tough decisions on whether to heat their home or eat this winter.
Hackney MP Meg Hillier has been out on local doorsteps during her roving surgeries, seeing first-hand the struggles families are facing.
She said: “Already before the pandemic, one in two Hackney children were living in poverty after housing costs are taken into account. The pandemic hit these struggling families hard.
“Now with inflation increasing, energy prices rising, alongside a £20 per week Universal Credit cut and a hike in National Insurance – Hackney families are facing a quadruple whammy and are being squeezed until the pips squeak.
“The government doesn't seem to understand the impact on household budgets which will leave many people unable to make ends meet.”
Official figures show that in 2019, 16.4 per cent of Hackney households were living in fuel poverty.
In Islington, there were 14,703 or 14.8pc during the same period.
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A household is considered fuel poor if they live in a property with low energy efficiency and would be pushed below the poverty line by housing costs and energy bills.
The Islington neighbourhood with the highest number of households living in fuel poverty was Highbury West with 151 out of 713.
Bunhill had the lowest number of any Islington neighbourhood.
In Hackney, Cazenove was found to have the most fuel poor households with 179 out of 661.
The neighbourhood with the least was Brownswood with just 35.
Meanwhile, the government’s focus has been on helping people into new or better jobs with Chancellor Rishi Sunak committing more than £500 million to the task.
He said raising national insurance contributions by 1.25pc was a difficult decision which was made to ensure the NHS got the funds it required to recover from coronavirus.
In response to criticism of the government’s £20 Universal Credit cut, a spokesperson said the temporary measure was designed to help claimants through the "toughest stages of the pandemic".
They added: “Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and it’s right that the government should focus on our Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.”
For support and advice, there are several organisations in Hackney and Islington to contact.
Hackney SHINE energy advice was set up to help residents keep warm and well throughout the winter. For more information visit hackney.gov.uk/shine
Contact Citizen's Advice to get support from highly trained volunteers. Find out more at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
The Seasonal Health Intervention Network (SHINE) is a fuel poverty referral network and free energy advice service for Londoners run by the Energy Advice Team at Islington Council. Find out more at www.energyadvice.islington.gov.uk/energy-advice-team/shine
To get referred to Hackney foodbank visit hackney.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/foodbank-vouchers
To get support from Islington foodbank visit islington.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/how-to-get-help
Those facing challenging situations can contact Shoreditch Trust by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0203 55 99 234. Learn more at www.shoreditchtrust.org.uk
Islington’s Resident Support Scheme provides support to residents facing severe financial hardship and in need of one off or temporary help with urgent living costs. Find out more at www.islington.gov.uk/advice/resident-support-scheme
Struggling families can also get support from E5 Baby Bank by visiting www.e5babybank.org/gethelpfromus
Fuel vouchers are now available to help residents in need pay for their bills over winter, as part of a joint initiative between Hackney Council and East End Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Find out more by clicking here.