More than a third of residents in Barnsley are in fuel poverty, a new report by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee reveals.
The report states that the Cost of Living Crisis is “disproportionately affecting boroughs like Barnsley where poverty was already increasing before the Covid pandemic, exacerbating inequalities, and disproportionately affecting the poorest communities.”
Fuel poverty is when a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature, which causes them to have to choose between heating their home or eating. This is due to the recent Cost of Living Crisis, which has caused protests around the country.
Some more shocking statistics in the report include that almost a quarter of children in the borough live in low-income families, almost 20% of children are on free school meals and over 26,000 residents are on Universal Credit.
In response to this, Barnsley Council have pledged that they will get £5.3m to the people who need it most, as well as proposing to spend £3m of their own money to expand the affordable warmth scheme, providing a three-year, sustainable programme with new boilers and upgraded insulation for people who qualify.
More support available includes a £1m healthy activities fund and £2m to be allocated to families in receipt of free school meals or pension credits. ‘Warm hubs’ will be promoted in local communities and Area Councils will also be delivering winter warmer packs, and winter warmer events, with support from commissioned services.