MORE than 122,300 people across the region are living in fuel poverty, according to latest figures.

Rural areas in West Yorkshire are particularly badly affected, with the average household facing a £600 shortfall between the cost of their fuel bills and what they can afford to pay – double that for their urban counterparts.

The difference is partly attributed to rural properties tending to be older and less well insulated.

Malcolm Farrow – for OFTEC, which represents the oil heating industry – describes the level of fuel poverty as “truly shocking”.

“The cold months are a real struggle for many people across West Yorkshire and this last winter has been no exception,” he said.

“Fortunately the worst of the weather is over as we move into spring, but the additional money already spent on heating has left many households financially short.

“Many people will be struggling in silence without the support they urgently need.

“Whilst some progress has been made to address these issues, it is still not enough. We are calling for more-immediate action to be taken by the Government to ensure we protect the most vulnerable in society.”

He adds that households can help reduce their fuel bills by adjusting heating timers as the weather changes, bleeding radiators and ensuring their heating system is regularly serviced and inspected by a qualified engineer.