(Bloomberg) — Some of London’s boroughs are on a par with the most impoverished regions of the UK when it comes to household access to central heating, meaning they are forced to rely on more expensive methods to keep their homes warm.
Between three and 4% of households living in boroughs like Camden, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, and Westminster have no central heating in their homes, data from the Office for National Statistics show. These levels are comparable with those seen in the country’s poorest areas, such as Cornwall and Blackpool.
367,130 homes, equivalent to 1% of households in England and Wales, did not have any central heating, according to data from the 2021 census.
The data adds to recent reports detailing how households in the country are already struggling to heat their homes amid one of the worst cost of living crises in memory.
More than three million households in the UK aren’t able to keep the heating on because of high costs, according to analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation last month. Many other families were preparing to take on additional debt to heat their homes, the report added.
The ONS dataset looks at how homes in the UK are heated and further highlights the vulnerability of the country’s households to fluctuations in global gas prices. Three in four households across England and Wales rely on mains gas as their only central heating source.
The picture isn’t any better for those with more diversified heating sources, such as electricity, oil and coal, with those households paying higher average fuel costs, the ONS said. Only 98,730 households in England and Wales said their central heating was powered completely by renewable energy.
In October, the government set its own Energy Price Guarantee to determine what households can be charged for energy, and compensated suppliers for wholesale costs above the EPG level. This level is set to rise to £3,000 a year from April, up from £2,500, which will put more pressure on already struggling consumers as average bills rise.