herald

Sunday 22 July 2018

Nearly 75pc households can't afford heat costs

Minister Catherine Byrne
Minister Catherine Byrne

nearly three-quarters of households who took part in a study in Dublin 10 and 20 said they had gone without heating because of a lack of money.

Researchers looked at clients of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) in Ballyfermot, Palmerstown, Cherry Orchard and Chapelizod.

Left Behind in the Cold? was a follow-up to research carried out in 2013.

The new study found that despite the economic recovery, the level of fuel poverty among MABS clients remained "un- acceptably high".

Boiler

The report, which was launched by Minister of State Catherine Byrne, found that 72pc of households surveyed were in fuel poverty, down from 79pc in 2013.

People spending more than 10pc of their income on fuel are deemed to be in fuel poverty.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents reported going without heat during the previous 12 months because of a lack of money; this was similar to the 2013 percentage, but more than four times higher than the corresponding figure for the general population.

Around half of clients who were owner-occupiers reported being unable to afford to service their boiler each year.

The report found that clients were moving away from more traditional utility suppliers towards those that operate pre-payment facilities.

The study, by researchers Dr Stuart Stamp, Annette McMahon and Catriona McLoughlin, highlighted heightened levels of fuel poverty among Travellers living in mobile homes and trailer accommodation.

It found that Travellers surveyed spent 21pc of their income on fuel.

"Across Dublin City Council housing stock, there are 8,000 homes that are in need of proper insulation," said Dublin Lord Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha, who was at the launch of the report. "This would be in older housing stock.

"They have started working on Lower Ballyfermot on pre-insulation work, but there is funding needed."

He said Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy had been urged to fund insulation across the city.

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