Thousands of households in Swindon are struggling to pay their fuel bills, figures suggest.

An estimated 9,402 households across the town experienced fuel poverty in 2019, the data released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows.

But at 9.6 per cent of those in the area, that was below the national average of 13 per cent.

Campaigners said the number of people across England unable to keep their homes warm is a “national scandal”.

Nationally, around 3.2 million households were estimated to be fuel poor in 2019.

Projections published by BEIS suggest this figure will drop by 180,000 between then and 2021, but fuel poverty charity National Energy Action said there has been too little progress in recent years.

“Fuel poverty is a national scandal and affects people in every part of the country,” said NEA’s chief executive Adam Scorer.

He said this wasn’t helped by the demise of schemes like the green homes grant, which was launched in September to help homeowners install energy efficient improvements but was recently scrapped having helped less than 10 per cent of the homes it aimed to nationally.

Across different neighbourhoods in Swindon, fuel poverty rates ranged from 3.1 per cent to 22.6 per cent in 2019.

The Local Government Association said councils are committed to improving home energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty, but called for longer-term funding to help them achieve national net zero ambitions.

An LGA spokesman added: “Councils should also be given greater flexibility around introducing landlord licensing schemes, so they can ensure private rented sector housing is also energy efficient.”

A government spokeswoman said 1.3 million fewer low-income households are living in the least energy efficient homes compared to 2010.

“We are committed to levelling up all regions of the UK, ensuring nobody goes cold in their own home, no matter where they live," she added.

"That’s why we recently announced £500 million in funding for local authorities to upgrade homes of thousands of low-income households across the country, many in deprived areas.”