A choice between eating or heating

PARENTS in low-income families are chosing whether to feed their children of heat their homes, according to a stark survey by a charity.

Save the Children says the vast majority of parents who cannot afford to heat their home this winter are not getting the help they need.

A poll commissioned by Save the Children shows many of the parents surveyed were considering choosing between paying for food or fuel this winter, with over half worried that their children’s health will suffer because their house is too cold.

The research found:

● Over half of the low income parents of children under 16 in the survey were worried that their children’s health will suffer because their house will be too cold this winter;

● Almost a third of those polled said they will not be able to afford their winter energy bills;

● Fourty-five per cent said they are considering cutting back on food in order to pay their energy bill this winter;

● Only nine per cent of parents on the lowest incomes in this survey said they had heard of, and were planning to apply for, the Warm Homes Discount.

The charity says the Government’s scheme for help with bills reaches just three per cent of families at risk of fuel poverty.

According to the charity, 800,000 of the poorest families qualify for a £120 discount on fuel bills under the Warm Homes Discount scheme, but a huge funding shortfall means only 25,000 families will get it.

Save the Children‘s “No Child Left in the Cold” campaign is calling on energy companies and the Government to urgently fill this funding gap so that all families eligible for the fuel discount get it.