NEARLY 40,000 households in Bradford were in fuel poverty before the national energy crisis, new figures show.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has warned many more will struggle to afford rocketing bills this year after the energy price cap rose in April and the war in Ukraine led to an increase in wholesale oil prices.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures show 39,619 households in Bradford were in fuel poverty in 2020 – the most recent official figures.

This was up from 38,925 the year prior, meaning 18.5 per cent of people, after heating their home, had a residual income below the official poverty line.

Across England, more than three million households - 13.2 per cent - were in fuel poverty in 2020.

However, these figures do not account for the current explosion in fuel prices, which saw the energy price cap increase by 54 per cent in April, meaning many households can expect to pay around £700 more per year on their bills.

The annual limit on tariffs is due to rise again in October, and Michael Lewis, chief executive of energy company EON UK, warned MPs between 30 and 40 per cent of people in Britain could end up in fuel poverty. He added that customers' debts could rise by 50 per cent.

Simone Rossi, chief executive of EDF, also warned Parliament the company had received 40 per cent more calls from customers worried about debt.

Simon Francis, from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, estimated more than six million households in England have now been thrust into fuel poverty.

He said: "We need urgent help for households in fuel poverty now combined with a long-term plan to improve energy efficiency of our homes and a sustainable, renewable-led, energy mix."

The news comes as a Bradford community centre has been successful with a crowdfunding appeal which will help the city's most financially vulnerable people.

The Sedbergh Youth and Community Centre, whose advisors offer one-on-one guidance on benefits and utility deals, recently raised nearly £4,000 in a crowdfunding appeal to help local people get back on track financially.

A centre spokesperson said: "With energy and food prices set to rocket - we want to be able to lead a project that concentrates on helping people who are struggling by offering help and support, but this is not where it stops.

"Money does matter, and it is a good starting point if we can offer some relief in the form of food parcels and food vouchers for those in times of crisis, but we also want to offer more sustainability in terms of simple budgeting and form-filling."