Fuel poverty isn’t something you’d immediately think of when you think of the UK. But sadly, it is a huge issue across the UK and due to Covid-19 the problem has escalated drastically.
This year has seen a huge surge in people working from home and with this, comes an increase in fuel consumption. While many of us don’t consider this an issue, it is a huge problem for many vulnerable people.
One of the many implications of Covid-19 is the extreme change in its impact on people. Those with any respiratory problems may fall into an unfortunate bracket on the poverty line. An important factor in overcoming Covid-19 is having an immune system to fight off the illness. While there is no specific evidence to date on whether warm homes can contribute to tackling Covid-19, the evidence suggests warm homes can play an important role in tackling respiratory illness in general.
The fact of the matter is warm homes enable immune systems to better fight off viruses. This reminds us of the importance of awareness and making sure people can afford their energy bills.
Unfortunately, at this time of year especially, we will only see an increase of those people struggling more! Which is why we introduced the #BigGiveBack campaign in 2020. We hand delivered over 1000 free food parcels to those that needed them in around our local community. We made sure that the food in these boxes use minimal resources to make. So unlike cooking a Turkey for 3 hours and roast potatoes for an hour – potentially wiping out someone’s entire electricity for the week – the only thing that’s needed is to boil a kettle, heat a pan or open a packet.
This is important for people to know, especially with recent announcements of the food parcels going out to children during lockdown who won’t receive their school lunches. Liverpool and many other cities across England are doing what they can to help feed those children from disadvantaged families. It’s worth keeping in mind what you donate and how realistic it is for these families to use. A huge portion of our population simply can’t afford to cook food AND heat their home.
Choosing to Heat or Eat in a developed country like our own, is simply backwards and entirely avoidable.
Hopefully Covid-19 has focussed our minds on the harrowing impacts of virus epidemic on people’s health. But it should also remind us of the destitution and lives lost every year through cold and unsupported homes, which Covid-19 is surely to aggravate.
The Government has had to commit huge amounts of money to tackling a huge public health crisis. But when the dust settles, the Government will need to reassess its priorities for action in the post Covid-19 world and ask themselves #whatmorecanbedone. In this day and age no single person in our country should have to worry about choosing heating over eating.
While the future seems uncertain, we can all do our bit. Donate to your local food banks, check in on your neighbours and work towards a better future for all of us!