One in ten Brits aged 65 or over live in ‘fuel poverty’ and can’t afford to heat their homes during winter, according to the research commissioned by Provident.
Two thousand Brits were polled on their ability to cover the cost of heating bills during winter, as well as the struggles they face to do so, revealing those who are most at risk during the cold winter months.
Over half of those surveyed are worried about covering the cost of their heating bills during winter 2017, with the average household facing an estimated £655 heating bill this winter. While the Winter Fuel Allowance is designed to aid pensioners, 24% of those surveyed say they will use the money to pay for food and Christmas presents.
While the study discovered that almost four in ten (39%) have forgone buying essentials, such as clothing, to pay their heating bills, one in four (24%) are simply using the Winter Fuel Allowance for expenses other than heating.
Almost 40% of these confessed to buying food thanks to the government’s help, while one in ten plan to spend the money on Christmas-related expenses such as presents and dinner, and over 12% have swapped feeling the heat in their homes for going on holidays.
Despite the Winter Fuel Allowance seeming to barely cover the cost of heating and elderly people resorting to desperate measures to keep their bills down, the allowance could be cut by a staggering £100 million in 2018.