5 April 2012
Macmillan Cancer Support responds to new research by USwitch.com which shows a rise in energy bills.
Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“It is outrageous that there are now four million households in the UK currently in debt to their energy providers. Soaring fuel bills will force more people into fuel poverty and we know that cancer patients are a particularly vulnerable group.
“Cancer patients often need to spend more time at home, leading to a rise in fuel bills at a time when, for almost four in ten, their household income on average halves. Many cancer patients find themselves in debt or are forced to cut down on other daily essentials, such as food, as they struggle to meet the rising cost of their energy bills.
“In 2011 the number of financial grants we gave to cancer patients to help with fuel bills rose by 172% compared to 2006. These new statistics show that the Government needs to act urgently upon the recommendations in the Hills Fuel Poverty Review and prioritise people with long-term illnesses, such as cancer, for support in paying their energy bills.”
For further information, please contact:
Claire Keuls, Media & PR Officer
020 7840 4872 (out of hours 07801 307 068)
Notes to Editors:
USwitch.com YouGov survey, February 2012.
Macmillan gave one-off payments totalling £2,548,563 to 12,669 cancer patients in 2011 to help with fuel bills, compared to 2006 when £1,398,678 of grants were awarded to 7,369 patients by the charity.
Fuel poverty is defined by the Government as when someone has to spend more than 10% of their income on energy to heat and power their home.
6 out of 10 people with cancer have had to use more fuel since their cancer diagnosis (Source: Macmillan Cancer Support online survey of 974 people living with cancer in the UK. Fieldwork conducted February 2009. Survey results are unweighted)
Nearly 1 in 5 people living with cancer have had to turn the heating off over winter, even though they feel cold, due to money worries. (Source: Macmillan Cancer Support online survey of 974 people living with cancer in the UK. Fieldwork conducted February 2009. Survey results are unweighted)
Almost 4 in 10 cancer patient households face a drop in income, and this drop in income is on average 50%. (Source: Macmillan Cancer Support/RDSi telephone survey of 1,137 people affected by cancer: 942 patients, 195 carers. Fieldwork conducted Nov 2005 – Feb 2006)
Macmillan Cancer Support/RS Consulting’s 2010 research into fuel poverty found that certain groups of cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to fuel poverty. These include those undergoing treatment (25%) and those on certain benefits, such as, housing benefit (47%) and council tax benefit (46%). The research also highlighted that 27% of cancer patients on disability living allowance and 40% with an annual household income of under £20,000 are in fuel poverty. (Source: Macmillan Cancer Support/RS Consulting (2010), Fuel poverty and cancer: survey of people with cancer)
The Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that it will publish a consultation in the summer on the proposals to measure fuel poverty.
Macmillan Cancer Support works closely with npower and together have developed the Fuel Management Programme to lift people affected by cancer out of fuel poverty. Together we provide assistance with bills and arrears as well as energy efficiency advice. Over 900 npower customers received help from the programme. If you are an npower customer and spending more than 10% of your income on fuel or for information about how Macmillan can help you visit Macmillan.org.uk/heatingcosts.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. More than one in three of us will get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer Macmillan can help.