Run down housing blocks with fuel poverty heading
Run down housing blocks with fuel poverty heading

We’re all tightening our wallets right now. So it’s more important than ever to make sure that we only use as much fuel as we need, and that we can afford it.

Sadly, there are lots of reasons why a household can struggle with fuel costs. Maybe there isn’t much money coming in, or the household uses a lot of energy. Whatever the reason, if a household finds itself below the UK poverty line after paying the energy bills, that’s called ‘Fuel poverty’.


Fuel poverty in the UK

As the map below shows, some areas in the UK have more households living in fuel poverty than others. This could be because an area tends to have higher fuel costs or lower-than-average household incomes.


Map of UK fuel poverty areas
Map of UK fuel poverty areas

Which areas are most at risk of fuel poverty?

Cardiff takes the top spot when it comes to fuel poverty. That’s because the average annual take home pay in the city is just £24,958, while the energy costs are close to £700.

Henry Muss, climate resilience expert and founder of The Climate Resilience Company, gives another reason for fuel poverty in Cardiff: “Apart from the ratio of household income to energy bills being the main reason for the high levels of fuel poverty in Cardiff another may be the quality and age of the housing stock. Older houses are likely to be more difficult to heat, having poor levels of insulation, resulting in higher energy bills and greater levels of fuel poverty.”


Top 10 UK cities with highest fuel poverty
Top 10 UK cities with highest fuel poverty

Top 10 UK cities with low fuel poverty
Top 10 UK cities with low fuel poverty

London and fuel poverty

On average, just 12% of households in London are living in fuel poverty, but in some boroughs that number rises to 18%.


Map showing London fuel poverty levels
Map showing London fuel poverty levels

Fuel poverty in the north and south of the UK

The north of the UK tends to have colder temperatures than the south. So people living in the north may face higher energy bills.

In Glasgow, the average winter temperature is just 3.1 degrees Celsius. So it’s no surprise that two out of five of the UK’s fuel poverty cities are in Scotland.

Here are the top five worst areas for fuel poverty in the north and the south of the UK.


Table showing North/South fuel poverty divide
Table showing North/South fuel poverty divide


How can I escape fuel poverty?

Looking to cut unnecessary energy costs in your home? Our in-house energy expert has some top tips on how to reduce your fuel consumption and energy costs.


Top tips for saving energy
Top tips for saving energy

Still unsure on how you can save on your energy bills?

Find out how to make your home energy efficient

Sources and methodology

The latest fuel poverty statistics have been analysed for the governments of the UK, Northern Island, Wales and Scotland. The London figure was created as a median from the constituent boroughs.

For the purpose of Northern vs Southern data, we have considered anything above The Midlands to be Northern and anything below the Midlands to be Southern. The Midlands has been excluded from the North/ South comparison but is present in all other instances.

Average salary data for all areas in the UK and Wales is based on median rather than mean values.

Average winter temperature refers to the average temperature per region for the months of November, December, January and February.

The average household for the purposes of data has been taken to be 2.4 people.

This data is correct as of 26/01/21.

Henry Muss, climate resilience expert and founder of The Climate Resilience Company.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/housing/articles/researchoutputssmallareaestimationoffuelpovertyinengland2013to2017/2019-07-08
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics
https://gov.wales/fuel-poverty-estimates-wales-2018
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/estimates-of-fuel-poverty-in-northern-ireland-in-2017-and-2018
https://www.gov.scot/publications/latest-estimates-fuel-poverty-extreme-fuel-poverty-under-proposed-new-definition-following-stage-2-fuel-poverty-targets-definition-strategy-scotland-bill/pages/5/
https://weather-and-climate.com/
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fuel-poverty-trends-2020
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-data-2020

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