By Max Clarke

Fuel poverty in the UK jumped 22% between 2008 and 2009, from 4.5 million to 5 million.

Much of this hike has been driven a global surge in energy prices, which saw gas and electricity up 14 and 5%; though falling disposable incomes and employment uncertainty are also driving factors.

The problem affecting the UK’s most vulnerable households is likely to have worsened still further, though figures for 2011, collated by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, will not be ready until after 2012.

The problem, which particularly affects the nation’s elderly, is just one of a series of price hikes to erode the quality of life of society’s most vulnerable.

Food prices have also soared recently as a result of drought in the UK and across the EU combined with the energy rises, pushing costs of with staples like wheat up by 50% and further eroding UK households’ disposable income.

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