An estimated 13.2 per cent of households – 3.16 million – spent more than 10 per cent of their income on heating two years ago, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
It added that number was actually 18,000 lower than in 2019.
But Peter Smith, director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, said: “It doesn’t take the October price rise into account, or any of the impacts of Covid.
“And we know the picture will be much worse come April when prices are rising by over 50 per cent.”
The charity estimates four million homes were in fuel poverty in October and 6.5 million will struggle to pay energy bills when the new price cap starts. BEIS estimated the number of households in fuel poverty would continue to fall “driven by energy efficiency progress”. But Simon Francis, of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said there has not been enough progress.
He said: “The impact of measures taken pre-pandemic has barely shifted the dial and very little has been done since 2020 to change the picture. Indeed, the situation has become much worse. We need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now.” Climate change think tank E3G urged the Government to speed up regulations to improve energy efficiency in rented and social housing and double funds for insulation and clean energy.
Spokesman Ed Matthews said that would provide “the best long-term solution to high energy bills, ending the blight of fuel poverty forever”.