Academics to meter heating prices

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RESEARCHERS in Yorkshire are carrying out a major study to establish if the combined effects of controversial changes to welfare benefits and rising energy prices are leaving disabled people unable to heat their homes.

The year-long project is being led by academics in York University’s department of social policy and social work and the centre for housing policy, and will result in recommendations to alleviate any negative consequences of policy changes.

The study will look at whether reductions in welfare benefits as part of the Government’s austerity drive are plunging more disabled people into fuel poverty, where a household struggles to afford to keep the home warm or builds up debts to pay energy bills.

Anyone who needs to spend more than 10 per cent of their household income on heating their home is classed as being in fuel poverty.

The research is being funded by the eaga Charitable Trust, an independent fuel-poverty grant-giving trust based in the UK.