Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Heating: a Real Problem for Working Poor and Unemployed.

with 64 comments

In the last few weeks I have met a number of people who say that they simply cannot afford to heat their flats or houses.

There are people now who sit in the cold.

This explains how widespread this is.

From the excellent Unemployed on Tyne and Wear site.

One Million Working Households Cannot Afford To Heat Their Homes

Nearly half of all households who cannot afford to heat their homes are in work, a shocking new report reveals.

Damning research from the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, reveals how the Government is spending less than half of the £1.2 billion needed to tackle fuel poverty in England.

The government is currently investing £490 million a year to move all fuel poor homes in England to a ‘Band C’ energy efficiency rating by 2030. However, Policy Exchange has estimated the true cost to be £1.2 billion a year, leaving a £700 million per year funding gap.

‘Despite some recent improvement, the UK’s housing stock remains woefully inefficient compared to other European countries’, says Policy Exchange.

Policy Exchange calculates that fuel poor households would need to spend up to £1,700 extra a year to heat their homes to a suitable level (between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius).

Just over 1.1 million working households in England are classed as ‘fuel poor’, with 10% of all households in England now living in fuel poverty. The problem is most severe in rural communities, where many homes are off the gas grid.

The research also shows that fuel poverty has been made worse by rising energy bills, with gas prices rising by 128% over the last 10 years.

The findings may play into the hands of the Labour Party, who have pledged to freeze energy prices for 20 months if they win the next general election. Labour claim the move could save average households £120, but cost energy companies around £4.5 billion.

Policy Exchange suggests three ways to meet the gap in current Government funding:

  1. Energy efficiency subsidies should be more focused on fuel poor households. At present, only 33% of fuel poverty funding actually benefits the fuel poor. Refocusing the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme on fuel poor households would raise £375million a year to allocate to fuel poor households.
  2. Only 10% of Winter Fuel Payment recipients are actually in fuel poverty. Introducing an ‘opt-in’ for the Winter Fuel Payment could save £400million a year which could be reallocated into energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor.
  3. Energy efficiency should be viewed as a ‘Top 40’ national infrastructure priority – utilising some of the government’s £100billion infrastructure budget over the next five years.

Author of the report, Richard Howard, said: “The facts paint a startling picture. There are over one million working households struggling to afford their energy bills, and living in under-heated homes.”

A government spokesperson said: “Fuel poverty has fallen year on year under this government, and we’re spending more than ever before to ensure more people stay warm this winter”.

Read the rest here.


Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm

64 Responses

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  1. One woman show came to our anti-IDS demo a while ago said she had not heated her flat for over a year.

    Andrew Coates

    January 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm

  2. The coalition’s record on low pay has come under attack as new figures revealed that not a single company has been prosecuted in the past year for paying less than the national minimum wage. Despite ministers’ claims that the government is getting tough on under-payers, the last successful criminal prosecution was in February 2013.

    That was one of only two prosecutions during the government’s entire term of office to date, according to figures given to parliament. The cases involved the imposition of fines to the value of £3,696 on an opticians in Manchester and £1,000 on a security company in London.

    The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for the Office for National Statistics recently found that about 287,000 workers were paid at less than the minimum wage in 2012, although the TUC puts the figure closer to 350,000.



    January 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    • Another reason who so many can’t afford to heat their homes.


      January 12, 2015 at 5:32 pm

  3. A BRADFORD scheme to help people with poor health and disabilities find work has been highlighted as a national example, as the number of people not claiming jobseeker’s allowance reaches more than one million for the first time.

    The proportion of unemployed people not claiming benefits has increased by 28 per cent in the past 18 months in England and Wales, said the Local Government Association (LGA).

    It claimed that councils were having to “pick up the pieces”, as some of the hardest to reach jobseekers, such as young people, were not receiving any central government help into work.



    January 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    • Obviously Workfare.


      January 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    • Not forgetting “sanctions” etc.


      January 12, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    • I like the way central government attempted to dodge the bullet on that article. We all know you cant go on the work programme, skills conditionality or even sector based academy for example unless you have been referred to them by the jobcentre and that the jobcentre only does so when a person claims benefits, namely unemployment.

      So to bluster on completely disregarding the articles point about those not on benefit just goes to show how stupid they think the public are.

      Good post enigma, especially after Ester Mcveys knowledge error the other day when she proclaimed that workers would benefit from the work on offer in the construction industry while completely ignoring that only a few days before the very industry berated government over plans to restrict visa time for foreign students with the skills required in a field that has been crying as far back as 2008 that the labour market stock (UK people) lacks the necessary skills to be hired begging the question who it is exactly she is referring to that will benefit from the work.

      Like it, pure class their enigma, pure class.


      January 13, 2015 at 9:00 am

    • You have to jump through so many hurdles.

      I bumped into a friend a few days ago, who’s just been made redundant and he said he was looking for work but couldn’t be bothered with all the hassle involved in singing on.

      Andrew Coates

      January 13, 2015 at 11:16 am

      • Indeed, I think if there were a wide ranging survey, this is quite common.

        I am sure many people are working for just £40-70 per week part time (possibly zero hour contract) just to get an income without having to go through all the hassle of attending jobcentre on time, lip service and sanctions from your work coach, using Universal Jobmatch eliminating fake jobs with your eyes and everything in between.

        I have a ‘mystery shopper’ post regarding Jobcentre Plus overdue that I will hopefully submit at some point.

        Universal Jobmatch

        January 14, 2015 at 6:39 pm

  4. OECD’s annual report on jobs and employment in OECD countries. Each edition reviews recent trends, policy developments, and prospects. A statistical annex provides data on unemployment rates, incidence of part-time employment, employment/population ratios, and activity rates. Also included are data on expenditure on labour market programmes



    January 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

  5. Since the coalition government came to power almost five years ago, child poverty has increased to 3.5 m. Nationally, around a third of children live in poverty, with levels as high as four in ten children in London. Most of these children (around 63%) live in working households. If the coalition policies continue, Barnardo’s predict another 1 million children will be pushed in to poverty by 2020.



    January 13, 2015 at 11:54 am

    • If I didn’t know any better, I would say the 3.5m figure was a pie-in-the-sky amount attached to some propaganda campaign. As if there is that many children in the UK – one of the wealthiest nations in the world – in poverty… an absurd suggestion!

      Except, I do know better, and it hits the nail on the head. Its an awful statistic. Its time to make poverty history.

      Universal Jobmatch

      January 14, 2015 at 6:45 pm

  6. More on “surveillance”.

    An English teacher was put under illegal secret surveillance by education chiefs who paid private detectives more than £3,000 to spy on her while shopping, it has been revealed.

    Kim Shaw, 56, was followed “like the Stasi” by a team of private detectives for three days after going on sick leave with stress.

    The Labour-controlled Caerphilly County Borough Council in South Wales paid a surveillance company £3,600 of taxpayers’ money to follow Mrs Shaw.

    An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found the two-man team filmed the teacher on shopping trips to Asda and homeware store Wilkinson.



    January 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    • Have you noticed how it seems acts that for us are deemed criminal aren’t so when its the government. You name it, theft, fraud, murder, stalking, racism, is their any crime government wont commit. You know when I compare a terrorist organisation to a government, terrorists have a long way to go if they ever hope to compete on the political stage of worlds biggest crooks.

      More importantly though don’t forget Francis Maudes white paper coming out after the election (oh what a surprize on the time scale of delivery) proposing unfettered access to the publics data or more correctly put Maude is proposing that government should be exempt from the data protection act quite literally.

      I said a while back that the government would have to change the law to get around and so they or should I say propose to at this early juncture. You see its always plagued me why conservatives would suggest leaving the EU when the whole signing up and being accepted was done under a conservative government both times.

      If the entire working public have any sense and fortitude, they wont allow their respective government no matter whos in office to excuse itself from any law, under any guise or before you know it in say 20 years, you will know exactly what its like to live under the kings and queens of old.


      January 14, 2015 at 12:35 pm

  7. Fewer than half retirees will receive full state pension, government admits.

    The government has admitted that fewer than half of all pensioners will receive the full £150-a-week new “flat rate” state pension from 2016 despite promises by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith that it will give workers “clarity” about their retirement income.

    In response to a freedom of information request, the Department for Work and Pensions said only 45% of the 3.5 million people who will retire between 2016 and 2020 will receive the full £150 a week.

    The new single-tier pension will from April 2016 replace the existing two-part system of basic state pension plus the state second pension (also known as Serps).

    Under the new system, employees will need to have 35 years’ of NI contributions to obtain a full pension, compared to 30 before. The figures reveal that one in three retiring workers will be paid a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week rather than the £150 many have been led to expect.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    January 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

  8. After successfully signing on today without being sanctioned I am now secure in the knowledge that I have heating for the next two weeks. Further than that I cannot possibly say.

    Landless Peasant

    January 13, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    • Landless Peasant

      I was reading on


      The adviser you seen today treated you different, was it the same adviser you normally see or was it a different one?


      January 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      • as soon as the wc knows they can not brake you they just give up.

        i was sent round to every one in the office for them to have a go with me and i wiped the floor with the lot of them.


        super ted

        January 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      • I remember my SO’s, very few weeks I would be seen by a different adviser, similar to you Super Ted, they all tried to get me to create an account on UJM! as you know the more knowledgeable the claimant is they end up giving up.


        January 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      • Congrats on this super ted 🙂

        Fight the system! (you shouldn’t have to in fairness)

        Universal Jobmatch

        January 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      • enigma – it was a different one to usual, though I do recall having seen her in the past ages ago. But the others were also making themselves appear more friendly and helpful as I was waiting. It did seem to be a shift in attitude. Perhaps it’s because we’re now in 2015, the elections not far off, and the writings on the wall for the Tory scum? Maybe they know something we don’t? It might be known within the DWP that IDS is on his way out and the whole thing’s fucked?

        Landless Peasant

        January 15, 2015 at 12:00 am

      • The Work and Pensions Select Committee announce the first oral evidence session for its inquiry into benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley Review


        Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants who failed to do enough to find work, failed to attend appointments or have turned down job-offers, have had their benefits payments suspended 818,000 times since new tougher rules were introduced in October 2012, new figures published today show.



        January 15, 2015 at 9:23 am

      • “Independent review”

        Benefit sanctions provide a vital backstop in the social security system for jobseekers. They ensure that, in return for the support provided by the state, claimants are held accountable for doing all they can to take on that support and to move back into work. This is a key element of the mutual obligation that underpins both the effectiveness and fairness of the social security system.

        However, it is also clear that this is a system that can go wrong and, when that happens, individuals and families can suffer unfairly. In this respect, it is easy to see the importance of communication and understanding. No matter what system of social security is in place, if it is communicated poorly, if claimants do not understand the system and their responsibilities, and if they are not empowered to challenge decisions they believe to be incorrect and seek redress, then it will not fulfil its purpose. It will be neither fair nor effective.

        My Review was tasked with assessing whether the current system is functioning as it should. While I found that the system is not fundamentally broken, there are a number of areas where improvements need to be made, particularly for more vulnerable individuals.


        January 15, 2015 at 9:40 am

  9. we’re on prepayment meters in most cases,these are continually overcharging as the calorific values in meters installed after 2007 are calibrated wrong,and continue to do so.




    January 13, 2015 at 8:25 pm

  10. Keiser demolishes the fantasy account as to our economy.



    January 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    • Far from viewing the past as a potential source of wisdom and insight, political regimes have a habit of employing history as an ideological weapon, to be distorted and manipulated in the service of present-day ambitions. That’s what Winston Churchill meant when he described the history of the Soviet Union as “unpredictable.”

      For this reason, we should not be surprised that our political leaders have made such transparently ideological use of the past in the wake of the financial crisis that hit the United States in late 2007. According to the endlessly repeated conventional wisdom, the Great Depression of the 1930s was the result of capitalism run riot, and only the wise interventions of progressive politicians restored prosperity.



      January 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    • Look at you enigma, all grown up.

      I remember a time when politics, history and economics sent you to sleep yet now like a hungry animal with a crack addiction you hardly pause for breath.

      Top marks and a inspiration to those that have yet to follow in your path.


      January 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

      • There is no mirror in here! – the lies they tell, tell us all what we want to hear, all know they will say anything to be in power, which I have known for years, which is the reason why I still call it “political nonsense”.


        January 14, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      • Like this! acting like kids in school.

        David Cameron and Ed Miliband have accused each other of “running scared” over election TV debates, as they clashed at Prime Minister’s Questions.



        January 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm

  11. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    January 13, 2015 at 10:42 pm

  12. File on Four investigates benefit sanctions and asks is the system too harsh.

    BBC Radio 4 – Tuesday 20 January 2015, 20:00

    on FM, AM, Digital and Online

    BBC Radio 4

    January 14, 2015 at 12:34 am

    • Thanks for letting us know.


      January 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

    • Always worth listening to: they asked for our contribution to start with!

      Andrew Coates

      January 14, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    • Will they mention the Suicides since the reforms ????


      January 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm

  13. MAXIMUS (NYSE:MMS) , a leading provider of government services worldwide, announced today that the United Kingdom Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has selected MAXIMUS to deliver the Work Programme in a new region: North East Yorkshire and the Humber. The performance-based contract is valued at approximately $10 million to $14 million and will begin on February 2, 2015.

    As a Work Programme provider, MAXIMUS helps unemployed individuals seek long-term employment and transition off welfare, setting them on a path to economic independence. The welfare-to-work program ties provider compensation to job seekers’ sustained employment and long-term job retention. DWP figures published in September show the Work Programme has helped more than 330,000 people into a job that they have held for at least six months.

    MAXIMUS currently delivers the Work Programme in West London, the Thames Valley, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. MAXIMUS was selected as the replacement provider for the North East Yorkshire and the Humber through a competitive procurement process.



    January 14, 2015 at 9:03 am

  14. The usual story.

    Property developers have sparked outrage by boasting to Asian investors that a new luxury tower block in one of the poorest areas of London will have “no social housing.”

    More than 30 flats in the nine-storey Abbey Tower development in Greenwich are being put up for sale in London this week and at an event in Hong Kong later this month.

    An advert on the website of the London and Hong Kong based agent Fraser & Co, which is hosting the launch event at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, highlights the fact that the development is “a fully private block with no social housing”.



    January 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

    • I keep wondering: where are all the poor people going to go?

      Andrew Coates

      January 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    • There will be millions living in shared houses, and of course families will be in one room as we have seen.


      January 14, 2015 at 8:22 pm

  15. Cameron refusing to appear in televised debates unless the Monster Raving Loony Party are taking part as well.

    The Onion News

    January 14, 2015 at 1:06 pm

  16. Today could be the wrong time for this article, what with Paul Lewis on Twitter suggesting that, rather than fearing inflation, we should not be afraid of deflation either. However, Martin Odoni has written to warn us against the ‘warning from history’, not about behaving like the Nazis, but about behaving in a way that opens the door to the Nazis.



    January 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    • The word you should have used is fascism but hey I still get your point none the less.


      January 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm

  17. Annos

    January 14, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    • Annos

      January 14, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    • They’ve spent £1.3 Million on Champagne.

      Landless Peasant

      January 14, 2015 at 11:55 pm

  18. they just take the piss 😉

    super ted

    January 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm

  19. Related to what we know?

    Car deliberately driven into council offices as three major fires reported in South Oxfordshire.



    January 15, 2015 at 11:33 am

  20. How about a local council spending 10 million on temps despite axing 100s of public employees since 2012.

    This is the same council that directly after the global crash spent millions on renovating their council house despite knowing their was further expenditure shoring up the river that the building was actually slipping into.

    Local councils moan about central government giving them less, cut public services, yet with the same breath give no thought to wasting the public money on themselves.


    January 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

  21. … until after the election… 😀

    National Savings & Investments website crashes as new ‘Granny Bonds’ paying a ‘stonking’ rate of interest go on sale. Who would have thought that a General Election was just around the corner… 😉 Well, that’s the ‘grey vote’ taken care off; smart move, Georgie Porgie 😀

    Let the Good Times Roll...

    January 15, 2015 at 12:30 pm

  22. Well I thought a certain mention of a certain topic would get tongues wagging so I will try one more time.

    Francis Maude is to propose (white paper) after the elections if the tories get in that the government should be exempt from the data protection act. As you can imagine this will as all parties stand to gain, not be hotly contested.

    This would also mean that government isn’t answerable to FOI either.


    January 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

  23. rainbowwarriorlizzie

    January 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm

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