A million UK households slipped into fuel poverty in one year, new government figures show. Between 2008 and 2009, the number of homes classed as fuel poor rose to 5.5 million.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change says this represents roughly 21 per cent of all UK households.
A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to keep properly heated.
The statistics are usually measured against a basic heating level of 21 degrees for the main living area and 18 degrees for other occupied rooms.
The figures from DECC reveal an upward trend in fuel poverty that has been mounting since 2004. Before then, fuel poverty had been falling for five years.