New research by Turn2us shows that three quarters of families are struggling to heat their homes so that no one feels cold. The knock-on effect is severe, with 75% of families saying it is negatively impacting the health of their children and over half (53%) saying their children’s school work has suffered due to cold homes.

As part of its ‘Cut out the Cold’ campaign which launches today, Turn2us also finds that as a result of these struggles, more than three-fifths (61%) of families are cutting back on food while over half (52%) say that the family diet has suffered, further putting their wellbeing at risk. As a result, over two-fifths (43%) of families have experienced illness due to their cold homes, while 59% are planning to reduce the temperature of their homes even further despite entering the coldest time of year. Worryingly, one in six families are considering taking out a payday loan to cover the costs they are unable to meet.

Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said: “More people than ever before are worried about finding the money to pay for their energy bills. People have no option but to cut back on essentials and borrow money. It’s alarming that for the first time in a decade, over one million families are struggling in fuel poverty, and at the same time the poorest fifth of households have seen the amount they spend on energy leap up. With cold homes affecting children’s health and even their attainment at school, they risk being caught in a cycle of poverty as they grow up.

In response to these ongoing challenges, Turn2us’ Cut out the Cold Campaign is highlighting the problems experienced by low income families and what support is available. From 14 January – 14 February 2015, anyone struggling with rising costs can use Turn2us’ free tools and information to see how they can increase their household income and manage their energy costs. These include checking welfare benefits entitlement, searching for grants and schemes to help with bills, and getting help with managing debt.

Visit the Turn2us website for more information.