Raising the energy price cap to around £2,800 in October could lead to 9.6 million families across England falling into fuel stress this winter, the Resolution Foundation has warned.

Following news that the chief executive of Ofgem has written to the chancellor to say that the energy price is likely to rise by a further £800 this October – to around £2,800 a year – the Resolution Foundation says its analysis shows what a devastating effect this could have on low-income families, and why the chancellor needs to provide significant, targeted support.

The analysis shows that the number of families living in fuel stress – defined as spending at least a tenth of their total budgets on energy bills alone – will rise from five to 9.6 million (22% to 40.5%) this winter off the back of the upcoming price cap rise.

Across the poorest 30% of the population, up to three-quarters of families could fall into fuel stress.

The Foundation says the scale of rising fuel stress shows that the chancellor needs to provide significant, targeted support for those at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis – and for the support to be delivered before the next price cap rise comes into effect.

Jonny Marshall, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “UK households are set for another huge jump in the energy bills this October – just when the need to heat their homes grows – which could push up to ten million families into fuel stress.

“The sheer scale and depth of Britain’s cost-of-living crisis means the government must urgently provide significant additional support.

“The fact that the crisis is so heavily concentrated on low-and-middle incomes households means it’s clear how the government should target policy support. The benefits system is clearly the best route to support those worst affected in the short term – be that via an early uprating or lump sum payments to help poorer households get through the difficult winter ahead.

“Looking beyond this winter, these households will also benefit most from cheaper renewable energy and lower consumption from better insulated homes – showing why Britain needs to massively step up its retrofitting programme.”