Nearly 8,000 homes in borough plunged into fuel poverty

Woman in front of fire

More lower income households and elderly people are at risk of fuel poverty. - Credit: PA

Nearly 8,000 households in the borough of Great Yarmouth have been living in fuel poverty, shock figures have revealed.

Soaring energy prices have seen increasing numbers of households plunged into fuel poverty with as many as four in 10 families in some parts of the county now struggling to pay their bills. 

Even before the current crisis, the borough was 29th in a national league table for the proportion of households living in fuel poverty out of 308 local authorities in England, according to a new report. 

The date produced by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, based on 2020 data, showed the Great Yarmouth area had 7,863 households - more than 17pc of homes - already in fuel poverty in 2020, with the borough 29th highest in the country.

And figures show that the Nelson ward in Great Yarmouth had the highest proportion of people in fuel poverty - 25pc.

The Southtown and Cobholm and Yarmouth North wards were next highest at 22pc. The lowest ward was Bradwell with 9pc.

Fuel PovertyHeating billsHeatingBillsByline: Sonya Duncan

Families face ever increasing fuel bills - Credit: Archant


In North Norfolk, more than 16pc were living in fuel poverty with data reporting 8,206 households

The report showed the fewest number of people in fuel poverty in the county was Broadland, where there were 6,748 (11pc).

Charities supporting those struggling with their bills have seen a steep rise in those seeking help after the price of energy rose last month - pushing bills up £693 to £1,971 for a typical household.

Norfolk Citizens Advice said they have seen an 18pc increase in people seeking help for fuel debt.

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Steve Nunn, of Community Action Norfolk, which usually runs advice sessions offering energy saving tips, said: “The main issue right now is that many people are simply struggling to actually pay their bills.

“We recently dealt with someone who has storage radiators but he cannot afford to use them so he has moved all his furniture into one room, his kitchen-diner, but he still cannot afford to pay his bills. 

“Someone else had their central heating breakdown so their landlord had given them an oil-filled radiator which is costing £7 a day to run, which is about £200 a month just for that one radiator.

Many families will be plunged into fuel poverty this winter.

Many families will be plunged into fuel poverty this winter. - Credit: ARCHANT

“Your heart really goes out to people because we know there isn’t a perfect answer at the moment.”
The group advises people to try to make use of the Household Support Fund, which provides short-term financial support, and the Warm Homes Discount, which provides grants to help insulate and heat homes.

In addition Norfolk County Council has increased capacity of the Norfolk Assistance Scheme, which provides emergency funding to help with living costs.

Energy bosses have said worse may be yet to come, warning without more support for vulnerable households four in 10 people could possibly fall into fuel poverty in October when prices are predicted to rise even further.

Where to get help

Norfolk Citizens Advice
Offers free, confidential and impartial advice on debt, benefits and money issues.
0800 1448 848
ncab.org.uk

Money Support Service
Norfolk County Council service for those needing help with budgeting.
01603 223392 (option 4)
norfolk.gov.uk

Community Action Norfolk
Charity offering help including warm homes and collective oil buying scheme.
01362 698216
communityactionnorfolk.org.uk

Norfolk Community Foundation
Charity that runs schemes including nourishing Norfolk and community shops.
01603 623958
norfolkfoundation.com

Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS)
Helps people who are in financial hardship and cannot pay their living costs.
0344 8008020
norfolk.gov.uk

Turn2Us
A national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially.
turn2us.org.uk

The Trussell Trust
Free 'Help through Hardship' helpline and food bank search tool.
0808 208 2138
trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/

Our campaign: Helping you through

The Great Yarmouth Mercury has launched a Your Money Matters campaign to address the rising cost of living.

Our reporters will commit to telling your stories, sharing both your struggles and successes.

The Mercury has launched a Your Money Matters campaign

The Mercury has launched a Your Money Matters campaign - Credit: Archant

We want to do more for our readers than just reporting on price increases. We need to help find solutions, ways to make it easier and areas in which we can fight so people can enjoy a better quality of life.

If you run a shop or business in the Great Yarmouth area and have a special offer to promote aimed at easing the burden of the cost of living crisis, contact our reporters on GYMNews@archant.co.uk