Fuel poverty is the condition by which a household is unable to afford to heat (or cool) their home to an adequate temperature.
It is caused by low income, high fuel prices, poor energy efficiency, unaffordable housing prices and poor quality private rental housing.
In England, the ‘Low Income, Low Energy Efficiency’ indictor is used to determine official fuel poverty. Under this, a household is considered fuel poor if;
They are living in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of band D or below, and
When they spend the required amount to heat their home, they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line.
The vast majority (90 per cent) of employers expect at least some of their workforce to be in fuel poverty when the next domestic fuel price rises take hold, new research has found.
In addition, the Partners& survey of 169 HR, finance and C-suite leaders, who collectively represent almost 189,000 workers, found that almost all employers (97 per cent) thought employees’ financial difficulties would increase heading into 2023.
With fuel poverty widely defined as any household spending more than 10 per cent of its income on energy usage and the energy price guarantee set to rise to £3,000 from April, households earning less than £30,000 could soon fall into this category.
Almost two thirds (59 per cent) of the organisations surveyed said they employed at least some workers on salaries of less than £30,000, with one in four employers (24 per cent) paying most of their workforce less than this.
But rising energy prices are not employees’ only financial concern. The data found two thirds (62 per cent) of businesses believe that the combined impact of rocketing inflation and high interest rates poses the biggest issue for workers.
The cost of living crisis was perceived to be the single biggest financial challenge going into 2023, with 31 per cent of survey respondents citing this.
8.4 million UK households will be in fuel poverty from April, says National Energy Action
Ahead of National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday 2 December, the charity releases new figures to show the impact of this winter’s spiralling prices and how the most vulnerable will be affected when the Government’s energy support changes from April next year. From April, 8.4 million UK households will be in fuel poverty.
The Government has announced the average annual energy bill will be £3,000 from April under the Energy Price Guarantee. From next year the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) will also cease and be targeted to help the most vulnerable. This is a 40% increase on current prices and means prices will have more than doubled in 18 months.
What’s the outlook for inflation?
The next ONS inflation announcement is due on 18 January 2023.
Forecasters agree that inflation will start to come down next year. There are fewer consensuses, however, about the size and shape of the retreat.
Janet Mui, head of market analysis at RBC Brewin Dolphin, says: “The main source of financial pain in 2022 has arguably been the persistence of eye-watering inflation, which has had a knock-on effect on monetary policy and economic activity. The good news is that inflation is likely to slow sharply in 2023 for a number of reasons.
“Commodity prices, including wholesale oil and gas, have fallen notably. Inventories of goods are building up and shipping costs are falling rapidly, which are good signs for price pressures to fall.”
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has put together forecasts based on four different economic scenarios. Despite varying parameters for each one, NIESR concludes “there will be a rapid fall in inflation from 2023”.
But it goes on to warn that “inflation will remain well above 3% for the whole of 2023 and our current forecast is that it will not return to target [2%] until mid-2025”.
Recession looms over markets in 2023
The UK will fall into a year-long recession in 2023 as the “stagflation” combination of rising inflation, negative growth and plummeting business investment weighs on the economy, according to Britain’s largest business group.
The CBI warned on Monday that gross domestic product would fall 0.4 per cent in 2023, a downgrade from its previous forecast of 1 per cent growth set in June. It said consumer spending would drop throughout the year as inflation remained above the Bank of England target.
The lobby group gave a particular downbeat forecast on business investment, which it said would start to fall from the middle of next year when an existing “super deduction” tax allowance scheme designed to boost investment came to an end.
Business investment is expected to be 9 per cent below pre-Covid pandemic levels by the end of 2024 — equivalent to about £5bn.
Food cost increases
The cost of food and drink is expected to continue to rise into next year, with the rate of grocery inflation reaching a peak of 17 – 19% in early 2023 before beginning to slow down over the coming 12 months.
The latest forecast from grocery insight provider IGD suggests that while food inflation will broadly affect most food and drink products, the most pressure on household budgets will come from meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy and bread.
Speaking at Insight & Impact 2022 conference in London, IGD chief economist James Walton said that IGD expects inflation to above zero at the end of 2023, although price reductions may occur beyond that point if market conditions permit.
The outlook for millions of families is bleak with no end in sight. On top of all this mortgage rates are climbing if you are a house owner and if you rent your property, expect your landlord to pass on the increases.
As we all scramble looking for ways to cut costs and save money and with the coldest months of the year to come, quitting smoking could be your saving grace. Not only will you benefit financially but health wise too. Switching to disposable vapes is a cost-effective most successful way to quit.
But the full benefits do not stop there, quitting smoking and opting for a safer nicotine delivery device can improve your mental health as well.
The days of quitting cold turkey or using patches which have a 4% success rate have long gone. You don’t have to fight the temptation every day and with e-cigarettes you don’t need to change any of your habits.
Latest Cochrane Review finds high certainty evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes are more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) in helping people quit smoking.
New evidence published in the Cochrane Library finds high certainty evidence that people are more likely to stop smoking for at least six months using nicotine e-cigarettes, or ‘vapes’, than using nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches and gums. Evidence also suggested that nicotine e-cigarettes led to higher quit rates than e-cigarettes without nicotine, or no stop smoking intervention, but less data contributed to these analyses. The updated Cochrane review includes 78 studies in over 22,000 participants – an addition of 22 studies since the last update in 2021.
Smoking is a significant global health problem. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2020, 22.3% of the global population used tobacco, despite it killing up to half of its users. Stopping smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer, heart attacks and many other diseases. Though most people who smoke want to quit, many find it difficult to do so permanently. Nicotine patches and gum are safe, effective and widely used methods to help individuals quit.
E-cigarettes heat liquids with nicotine and flavourings, allowing users to ‘vape’ nicotine instead of smoking. Data from the review showed that if six in 100 people quit by using nicotine replacement therapy, eight to twelve would quit by using electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. This means an additional two to six people in 100 could potentially quit smoking with nicotine containing electronic cigarettes.
Luckily the UK are leading the way, pushing vaping as a smoking cessation tool. It’s beyond belief that some first world countries still have a ban in place for e-cigarettes while tobacco is still easily available.