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This year, Britain experienced its coldest winter in over 30 years, and as temperatures dropped below -20ºC in some parts of the UK, thousands of people suffered the effects of one of society’s gravest ills: fuel poverty.
According to official definitions, “a household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth”; current figures estimate that there are approximately 4.6 million “fuel poor” households in the UK. The severity of the problem is such that the Office for National Statistics calculated that there were 36,700 deaths in the winter of 2008/09 due to the cold weather.