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Skyrocketing Energy Bills Could Plunge 8.5 Million UK Households Into Fuel Poverty

Fire gas stove - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.03.2022
Last week, European energy prices jumped almost 70% shortly after the EU's announcement of new tough anti-Russian sanctions over the beginning of Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine to protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
A group of almost 50 UK charities has warned that one in three British households will be unable to heat and power their homes if energy bills soar further against the backdrop of the escalation of the Ukraine crisis.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition stressed that if the average energy bill soars to £3,000 (about $4,000), it would leave around 8.5 million British households unable to pay their energy bills.
Adam Scorer, chief executive of the fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, urged the UK government to "address the scale of the problem and use the upcoming Economic Statement in March to cut energy bills much further for the poorest". According to him, the authorities "must act now, to protect the most vulnerable, and to save lives".
He was echoed by Age UK's Charity Director Caroline Abrahams who stressed that energy price hikes "have pushed older people's budgets to breaking point, with many going without heating for weeks over the winter".
"The impact on their health and well-being is likely to be devastating, just as it seemed we and the NHS [National Health Service] were getting some respite after two years of a pandemic", Abrahams said.
She called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to "do more to help and ensure that those on low and modest incomes can afford to stay warm without worrying sick about their bills".
A Downing Street spokesperson responded by saying that the government does "not recognise these projections", adding that its "most recent data on fuel poverty, released last week, showed the number of households living in fuel poverty in 2020 down by 1.6 million since 2010 and around 20,000 since 2019, with continued reductions projected for the next year".
The spokesman stated that the government is "taking decisive action to help more than 27 million households with rising energy costs, with a £200 ($264) reduction on bills this autumn and a £150 ($198) non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills".
The remarks came amid concerns over the supply of gas to Europe following the beginning of a Russian special operation in Ukraine on 24 February aimed at demilitarising and "de-Nazifying" the nation. This was followed by the EU announcing a new batch of tough sanctions targeting key Russian economic sectors.
Shortly after the start of the operation, the price of March futures for gas in Europe skyrocketed to over $1,636 per 1,000 cubic metres, up 60% from previous indicators. Brent crude spiked to over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. The spike continued on Friday, when European gas futures prices increased by 30% reaching a record high of $2,400 per 1,000 cubic metres, according to the London-based ICE exchange.
The drastic increase was preceded by Germany last week freezing the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which aims to deliver Russian natural gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea.
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