Brentwood, United Kingdom (PressExposure) January 05, 2010 -- A new Which? report has suggested that energy bills for poorly insulated homes could rise by 35% by 2020.
Combine this with the recent announcement that some 50% will be shaved off the Government's Warm Front grants which are offered to pensioners and those on benefits to help them insulate their homes and their modernise heating systems, and surely it's a recipe for disaster?
The retired population already has enough to worry about with poorly performing pensions, low interest rates and the forthcoming VAT hike. Geoff Charles, Managing Director of Equity Release specialists Bower Retirement Services says that fuel poverty is a worrying reality and something needs to be done urgently to resolve the issues before the problem worsens. "Pensioners quite simply should not have to live in freezing cold homes or go without just so they can pay their fuel bills."
The Which? survey of 825 adults in November 2009 stated that 73% of respondents said they would worry about how they would afford a 35% increase in energy bills, and 28% already worried about paying their bills.
Geoff Charles continues: "If the Government is going to reduce the much needed Warm Front grants they need to put some weight behind another initiative before these energy bills get out of control. I believe that initiative should be equity release, because it is a safe way for those who own their own homes which have increased in value over the years to release some of that value so they do not have to live in poverty. The money could be used to modernise the heating system and insulate the property and make other improvements such as new windows so that the home becomes energy efficient, and the fuel bills decrease."