CONCERNS have been raised over the health of fuel poor households with high expenditure on heating pushing many into further financial hardship.

Government statistics reveal 31,906 people in County Durham are living in fuel poverty which means they cannot afford to adequately heat their home given their income.

Rural areas are particularly affected, with the average household facing a £600 shortfall between the cost of their fuel bills and what they can afford to pay – double that for urban areas. This is partly due to rural properties being older, less well insulated and more expensive to keep warm.

The Northern Echo:


In response to the growing concern, OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry, is calling on local MPs to provide support to those most in need.

Malcolm Farrow from OFTEC said: “The cold months are a real struggle for many people across County Durham and last winter was no exception. Fortunately, the worst of the weather is over as we move into spring but the additional money already spent on heating has left many households financially short.

“The levels of fuel poverty in are truly shocking and many people will be struggling in silence without the support they need. Whilst some progress has been made to address these issues, it is still not enough."