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Nearly 2,000 in the cold as census reveals lack of central heating

More than 1,700 families will be in for a cold winter as they do not have central heating.

Photo: Martin Keene/PA Wire

More than 1,700 families will be in for a cold winter as they do not have central heating.

Newly released data from last year’s census revealed that around 1,785 households in the borough have no central heating.

This equates to 5.2 per cent of households, the third worst figure in the county and 19th worst nationwide. Councillors and anti-poverty campaigners have branded the figures shocking.

Dorothy McGregor, who runs poverty charity Maundy Relief said the situation was ‘dire’.

She said: “We have halogen heaters that we lend out to people but we haven’t enough for all the people that need them, it’s awful. People are cold and starving and living in dilapidated housing and it all goes hand in hand and of course people will die of cold before they starve.”

The figures come after an energy price comparison website revealed recently the cost of heating had increased by up to 64 per cent in five years, adding an extra £227 to bills for the average family per year. This adds to the growing financial pressures of the cost of petrol and the risk of home repossession.

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said part of the problem in Hyndburn was due to century-old and sub-standard housing. He pointed to council-supported regeneration initiatives which would improve the situation such as at Woodnook, where work has begun on bringing 200 empty properties back into use.

He added: “I think it shows the difference between ourselves and more affluent areas and hopefully the government will offer more support to ensure that families have well-heated homes.”

But Conservative group leader coun Peter Britcliffe said it was up to the council to address the issue.

He said: “What this data shows is that more needs to be done and the council should make this a priority, proper heating is extremely important. When I was leader of the council we had around £150,000 a year set aside to help people with things like new boilers and double glazing. The Observer reported in previous Poverty in 2012 stories how families are increasingly reliant on food banks to feed their children.

 

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