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West Midlands identifies fuel poverty hotspots

More than 15 per cent of residents in Birminhgam are reported to be living in fuel poverty, according to new figures.

Stats released by the government have shown how some families are struggling to cope with rising gas and electricity bills, forcing them to either go without heating in the colder months or choose to scrimp on other essentials like food or clothing instead.

Overall, Perry Barr was named as the worst region where this was most likely to occur, followed by the Hall Green and Selly Oak constituencies.

Local councillor James McKay, cabinet member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: "We have got a grip on this in Birmingham, but to really crack this problem, we need government to get a grip at the national level, too."

Councillor McKay added any problems with the Green Deal should be properly ironed out, so those who need it understand how to take advantage and claim the financial support that could help them make a significant difference to their energy efficiency levels.

Under the government initiative, households can claim up to £7,600 to subsidise - or even completely pay for - home improvements that could reduce their levels of energy wastage. Some of these measures include solid wall insulation or new, more eco-friendly boilers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, in the West Midlands, it is people hailing from Perry Barr who have so far been the keenest to apply for Green Deal assessments of their properties, with 24.4 per cent coming forward for help.

However, in Selly Oak - the third-worst for fuel poverty - just 9.5 per cent have requested their needs be looked at by the authorities, suggesting more still needs to be done to raise awareness not only of the Deal itself, but also of where residents are going wrong and what they can do to change the situation.

Posted by Rachel Jenkins


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