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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Millions of UK children at risk of energy poverty (study)

Energy poverty will lead to a “humanitarian crisis” that will affect millions of children in the United Kingdom, where rising costs of living could push three million people into absolute poverty, according to two studies published Thursday.

A report by the Institute for Health Equity (IHE), a research center on inequalities, warns that from unheated homes to increased stress on families, British children are exposed to health, social and educational risks.

This would mean that “thousands of people will die sooner than they are, and in addition to lung damage in children (in cold homes), toxic stress can permanently affect their brain development,” its director , Michael Marmot summarized in a statement. ,

Without government intervention, the institute fears a “major humanitarian crisis” in the country would plunge more than half of British households into energy poverty by January.

Regulated energy tariffs in the UK are set to rise 80% from October and inflation is projected to reach 13% by the end of the year. Gas and electricity bills may increase further in 2023.

According to the Resolution Foundation think tank, household real disposable income, adjusted for inflation, will decline by a total of 10% this year and next, the biggest drop in living standards in a century.

This would mean 3,000 pounds ($3,500) less annually for the average family and “the crisis in living standards will extend beyond this winter and extend into next year and 2024,” the group said in another study published Thursday.

According to the foundation, the number of people “living in absolute poverty” could increase from three million to a total of 14 million, requiring tens of billions of pounds of aid from the next government.

These studies “highlight the growing difficulties in the British economy,” said Susannah Streeter, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne, and the prospect of “an equally gloomy winter” pushed the pound to a new low against the dollar on Thursday. , which reached its lowest level. Since 1985.

On Monday Foreign Minister Liz Truss, the favorite of outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s successor, is in favor of tax cuts but not in favor of direct aid.

However, she assured in the pages of the popular newspaper The Sun on Thursday that if she becomes the head of the government, “she will provide immediate assistance so that people do not face unbearable fuel bills.”

Odd-ACC/MB

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