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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 00:40 GMT
Children 'living in fuel poverty'
Children in snow
The charities warn that thousands of children face discomfort
About 90,000 children in Scotland are living in homes where families cannot afford to pay energy bills, a group of charities has warned.

The coalition of Barnardo's, Children in Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group, Capability Scotland and Save the Children blamed high fuel prices.

They said the number affected had nearly doubled in four years.

During the same period electricity prices had risen by more than 60% and gas prices by more than 90%.

The group is campaigning for energy companies to show "corporate social responsibility" by increasing support to low income families with children living in "fuel poverty", where more than 10% of household income is spent on energy bills.

Our research suggests disabled people and families with a disabled child are over-represented in the number living in fuel poverty
Faye Gatenby
Capability Scotland

Tam Baillie of Barnardo's Scotland said: "For those living in fuel poverty, the consequences are misery, discomfort, ill health and debt.

"No Scottish child should live in a cold, damp home. And no parent should have to choose between feeding their kids and keeping them warm."

Faye Gatenby, of Capability Scotland, said: "Our research suggests disabled people and families with a disabled child are over-represented in the number living in fuel poverty.

"We welcome the steps that the Scottish Executive has taken towards addressing this issue. It is now time for energy suppliers to accept their share of responsibility for this situation."

Graham Kerr, of Energywatch Scotland, said energy companies had a social responsibility and a major part to play in tackling fuel poverty.

"They should develop discounted energy products for low income households and scrap higher charges for people using pre-payment meters," he added.

The figures are released on Day Out for Child Poverty, when MPs visit projects in their constituencies to raise awareness of the high rates of child poverty in the UK.

In 2002 the Scottish Executive estimated 46,000 children were living in such households.

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