National Energy Action (NEA)

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National Energy Action,West One
Forth Banks,Newcastle Upon Tyne


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National Energy Action (NEA) is the award-winning UK charity that works to ensure that everyone in the UK can afford to live in a warm, dry home. Our mission is: ‘No one living in Fuel Poverty’.

There are around 4 million UK households living in fuel poverty, so over 10 million people. On average 10,000 people will die each winter because they live in a cold, damp home. Many millions more people suffer the health impacts of poor housing, which costs the NHS £1.4 billion per year.

Fuel poverty is at crisis levels. Did you know that cold homes are currently a bigger killer across the UK than road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse? (NEA 2015) 

Fuel poverty is caused by three factors:

  • inadequate heating and insulation
  • low incomes
  • the continuing high cost of energy

Effects of Living in Fuel Poverty

Health Problems- The consequences of fuel poverty range from psychological stress, worry and social isolation, to causing or exacerbating serious illness such as respiratory and circulatory conditions. Over the next 15 years, it is predicted that over 125,000 premature deaths will occur as a result of people living in cold homes throughout the UK.

Suffering during Childhood- Statistics show that children living in inadequately heated households are more than twice as likely to suffer from conditions such as asthma and bronchitis as those living in appropriate temperatures (Friends of the Earth and Marmot, 2011). Indeed, the risk of experiencing ill health during childhood is 25% higher if the child grows up in poor housing (Harker, 2006).

The Choice between Heating and Eating- Those in fuel poverty often have to face the stark choice between spending what they need to heat their home adequately and falling into debt; or rationing their energy use and living in cold damp homes that are dangerous to their health. Others spend money on fuel and reduce their purchasing of other necessities, such as food. Statistics show that 20% of parents living in fuel poverty regularly go without food so that their children can eat (Cooper et al., 2014).

Who Does it Affect Most?

It is most prevalent among vulnerable households, including:

  • those on low incomes
  • people with children under the age of 16
  • people with disabilities or suffering from a long-term illness
  • older people

Fuel poverty can be particularly severe in rural areas where properties are often older, not suitable for cavity wall insulation, are off the gas network and have to rely on more expensive forms of heating.

NEA is the only national fuel poverty charity. We do not focus on one particular group of people; instead we offer services to anyone who cannot afford to heat their home. For more than 37 years we have helped thousands of households directly, and millions indirectly, to escape from fuel poverty, through our local project work and by campaigns that have influenced central and local government policies.

NEA may be small in comparison to other charities operating in the UK; but it is proven that we regularly ‘punch above our weight’ and make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people. With your support we can continue to do so into the future!

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