25 charities have joined forces to demand urgent funding to end ‘heat or eat’ crisis

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In a letter to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, they ask for more cash for insulation and clean energy to help wean the UK off expensive gas.

The 25 charities, including Save the Children, Age UK, End Fuel Poverty Coalition, and Greenpeace, warned that without extra help fuel poverty could increase from four to six million households.

Many of these families face having to choose between heating and eating.

There are also fears the crisis could lead to more deaths in cold homes.

The letter said that owing to cutbacks, millions of houses have not been insulated. Emergency support should be funded in part by a windfall tax on the fossil fuel industry.

Dan Paskins, of Save the Children, said: “The cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy prices, is totally unsustainable and is hitting the lowest-income families the hardest.”

He said some parents were “having to make impossible choices between heating their homes and buying clothes for their children”.

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Dr Doug Parr, at Greenpeace UK, said: “The twin imperatives of a gas price crisis and climate crisis mean we need to get off fossil fuels as fast as we can while protecting those on low pay.

“A windfall tax on oil and gas companies would be a fair way to help finance the transition.”

Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “Fuel poverty is a public health and poverty crisis but can only be solved by economic measures.”

He said ministers “must do everything possible to help people in crisis now while investing in energy efficiency to fix the long-term problem”.

The Government said it is looking at how to help the elderly and those on low incomes with fuel bills.

A spokesman said pensioners received Winter Fuel Payments of up to £300, plus there were schemes like the energy price cap. He added that gas and electricity are already subject to the low five percent VAT rate.

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