Number of people in fuel debt rising every year

The number of people struggling to heat and power their homes in the face of rising energy costs has been going up for the last seven years.

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Debt charity The Money Advice Trust has revealed that the number of people falling into fuel debt has been rising exponentially for several years.

The Money Advice Trust’s National Debtline is receiving more and more calls from people seeking help and advice about fuel debt.

“Increasing energy costs mean most of us have to pay increasing attention to how much gas or electricity we use and whether or not we have the right tariff,” said Joanna Elson OBE, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust.

“It is a serious problem in this country that so many people will be wondering whether they can afford to boil a kettle or turn on the heating.”

Last year, the number of people seeking advice for energy debt was at its highest level since the Money Advice Trust’s records began in 2004.

In 2004, 2.7% of National Debtline calls were from people struggling with their fuel bills. This figure has gone up every year since and now stands at 13.7%.

In January this year, the helpline received a call for help with gas and electricity bills for every five minutes its lines were open.

“We are now taking well over 2,000 calls a month for help with fuel debts. The growth in the number of people struggling to meet energy bills reflects a sharp increase in prices over the last few years,” added Ms Elson.

“The cost of heating and powering a home takes up much more of our income than it did six or seven years ago.”