The cost of heating is spiralling in the UK, with bills forecast to rise by 50% this year without government intervention.
A new YouGov survey reveals that more than a third (37%) of Britons say that, when it is very cold outside, they cannot afford to heat their home to a level where they are comfortably warm.
This group is made up of 28% who say they can heat their home to a level where they’re warm, but not as warm as they would like to be, 7% who say they can only afford to stave off the worst of the cold and 2% who cannot afford to heat their home at all.
Half (49%) of people from very low-income households (with a combined income of less than £15,000 a year), say they cannot afford to heat their home to a comfortable temperature when it is very cold outside. Of this, a third (32%) say they can heat their homes to a level where they’re warm, but not as warm as they would like, 11% who can stave off the worst of the cold and 6% who cannot afford to heat their homes at all.
The proportion of people who say they can’t afford to heat their homes comfortably falls as household income increases - however, a quarter (25%) of those living in households making more than £50,000 a year still say they can’t afford to heat their home to a temperature where they are comfortably warm.
The majority of Britons tend to avoid putting the heating on if they feel cold – but men are more likely to put it on than women
Just 16% of Britons say that putting the heating on, or turning it up, would be the first thing they would do if they felt cold in their home and were already warmly dressed.
More than half (54%) would get a blanket before they turned the heating up, while 49% would put another layer of warm clothes on and 46% would warm up with a hot drink.
A fifth (22%) would get a hot water bottle, and the same proportion would move around to try and warm up. Around one in six (17%) Britons would get back into bed if they were feeling cold at home and one in 12 (8%) would use a portable heater.
Men and women cope with the cold differently – men are twice as likely as women to turn the heating on straight away if they were warmly dressed at home and they felt cold, by 22% to 11%. Women are much more likely than men to say they would get a blanket (67% to 39%) or have a hot drink (54% to 37%).
In addition, while a third (32%) of women would get a hot water bottle before putting the heating on, this figure is just 12% for men.
What reasons do Britons have for not putting turning the heating up as their first solution for being cold?
For people who don’t put the heating on first if they feel cold, the majority are either actively trying to save money or can’t afford to keep their homes warm.
Half (51%) of those who said they would not put the heating on straight away if they were cold say that, while they could afford to, they would rather save the money. Another quarter (25%) say they can’t afford to heat their home as much as they would like.
Britons over 65 were twice as likely to say they can’t afford to heat their home as much as they’d like to than those aged 18 to 24, by 30% to 15%. Similarly, 50% of older Britons say they prefer to save money over putting the heating on, compared to 40% of younger ones.
See full results here