New research explores the 'heat or eat' dilemma for some households

Posted on 12 April 2018

Dr Carolyn Snell from the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, adds to her work around fuel poverty issues


Dr Carolyn Snell Photo by Dominic Ennis

Dr Carolyn Snell who is a senior lecturer in Social policy at the Department for Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York, has had her work published in the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. The research was a collaboration of academics from the University of York, Sheffield and Birmingham.

The paper, Is there evidence of households making a heat or eat trade off in the UK?, explores the popular dilemma that exists in some households of a ‘heat or eat’. Dr Carolyn's research revealed that there is a connection between not being able to heat the home and not being able to eat well. However, it appears that households struggle to do either, and there is considerable distinction in household decisions around energy use.

Qualitative data analysis revealed the importance of energy billing periods, household composition and social and familial networks in terms of shaping household experiences and responses. The findings challenge the established idea that food and fuel are elastic household expenditures.

Snell, C., Lambie-Mumford, H., Thomson, H. Is there evidence of households making a heat or eat trade off in the UK? (2018) Journal of Poverty and Social Justice. Policy Press.