A report out today reveals that up to a quarter of rural Yorkshire households are living in fuel poverty
The Rural VCS Policy Group highlights shocking figures that a quarter of households in particular areas within Yorkshire are living in fuel poverty.
The districts with the highest score in terms of fuel poverty include Hambleton (20.6%); Scarborough (22.7%); Craven (23.6%); Richmondshire (24.3%) and Ryedale (26%).
According to Age UK, health issues associated with fuel poverty cost the NHS £1.36bn annually across the UK.
Children and young people and the elderly are most affected by fuel poverty. Living in a cold home more than doubles a child's chances of suffering respiratory problems like asthma, and teenagers are four times more likely to suffer mental health problems.
Older people living in cold homes are at higher risk of death and illnesses like heart and respiratory disease, and older people are three times more likely to die in the winter in a cold home as in a warm one.
Judy Robinson, chief executive at Involve Yorkshire & Humber, said: "Fuel poverty in rural areas has a detrimental impact on the health and well being of residents. Voluntary organisations can support people to find alternatives.'"_
Rural areas make up 81% of the Yorkshire and Humber region. _Fuel costs in rural areas are often higher than in urban areas but incomes are lower.
Households in rural areas are at a much greater risk of being classed as being fuel poor due to the age and type of homes people live in. 56% of homes in rural areas are in the lowest energy efficiency bracket, compared with just 7% in urban areas.
Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth, said: "Identifying sources of heating that remove communities away from fossil fuels is to be recommended, fossil fuel prices will in the long term increase, further compounding the issues around fuel poverty and the health problems associated. _
"Where appropriate bio mass boilers, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and hydro schemes should all be explored in the remoter rural areas especially as part of community-led planning for new development."
Members of the public are being urged to have their say on plans for the future of children's and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.
They are considering scrapping the overnight paediatric and special baby care service. Tonight's meeting is to be held at Colburn Leisure Centre. Meetings will begin with an exhibition and video at 5.15pm, followed by presentations and questions at 6.15pm.
Dr Vicky Pleydell, a local GP and the ShadowAccountable Officer for the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby ClinicalCommissioning Group, said:
“We are looking forward to meeting with local people as part of our public engagement on the future of children’s and maternity services at the Friarage hospital...we have arranged this series of public meetings to allow people to gain a greater understanding of the current situation"
People from every corner of Yorkshire and Humberside have signed up to say 'No' to the Bill which, as well as costing millions to implement at a time when the NHS has to save £20 billion, will open up the NHS to competition and increase the number of private patients hospitals can treat.
Unison members from across the region will attend a rally in London today, calling for the Government's Health and Social Care Bill to be dropped. The controversial plans involve scrapping the county's primary care trusts and giving control of NHS budgets to groups of GPs instead.
Union bosses from across the region are gathering in Leeds this weekend for the Regional TUC AGM where they'll discuss the current government's policies on the welfare state, public services and workers' right as well as the Health & Social Care Bill