READERS of The Mail have had their say after it was revealed an estimated 4,704 Barrow households experienced fuel poverty in 2019.

Reacting to the figures, one reader, ‘Dalton lad,’ has questioned why so many households have struggled.

They said: “Can’t pay or won’t pay ? There shouldn’t be many people who are struggling. We are in a freebie society and although there is a definite wealth gap, no one should be struggling if they prioritise life’s financial demands.”

Fellow reader Hermes10 added: “There should be no need for fuel poverty with the amount of benefits available that spongers live off. These people need educating by the spongers that live near me who never work, smoke, have mobiles and have takeaway meals delivered all day.”

However, one reader has disputed this argument.

They said: “Classic assumption that those in fuel poverty smoke, eat McD’s, have and use mobiles and internet (though remembering that UCredit is established as a purely net-based system). It could be equally assumed they are buying appropriate winter wear for themselves and children, decent waterproof jackets and shoes, keeping clean, eating and similar frivolous expenditure (throw in a school trip, uniform, kids birthday and Christmas presents).”

Gerard Nicholson commented: “Turn the clock back. Pensioners, disabled and families on low income are the majority in Barrow-in-Furness. Under the mask of cleaner energy, cheaper bills, etc, we got a massive wind farm producing an abundance of energy. No savings passed to the consumers, only billions in profits for EU companies and an average increase of 25 per cent over the past five years to consumers per year when the lower-income demographic has had a 0.8 per cent rise in income. When you consider the majority of those have been shielding for the past year due to the pandemic with a constant 24h need of supply and use. It’s no wonder many people have got in debt and have been struggling to pay the bills.”