EAST Lancashire boroughs have a higher than national average of households struggling to heat their homes, a report has revealed.

Statistics from the Department for Energy and Climate Change in a Lancashire County Council report showed 6,027 homes in Pendle, (15.8 per cent) and 5,611 (14.6 per cent) homes in Burnley are below the fuel poverty line.

The report showed 14.4 per cent of Hyndburn's households are under the fuel poor line, followed by Blackburn with Darwen (14 per cent) Rossendale (12.2 per cent) and Ribble Valley (10 per cent), with the national average being 11 per cent.

Homes are defined as in fuel poverty when one cannot afford to keep their home adequately heated.

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said fuel poverty is a serious issue within Pendle.

He said: "One of the reasons is people have jobs but they are not paid well enough to support people's heating bills.

"I would happily join the county council to lobby the government for additional funding for district and county councils to help tackle fuel poverty.

"We've seen prices increase in energy and it will push those in fuel poverty into further concern."

A Burnley Council spokesman said the council aims to help reduce fuel poverty in the borough through the Cosy Homes in Lancashire (CHiL) scheme.

Through the flexible funding the authority can apply for extra funding for homes in their borough.

Cllr Arshid Mahmood, executive member for neighbourhoods and prevention services for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "The council is also a key partner in the‘CHiL’ scheme.

"CHiL also bids for grant funding from government to address fuel poverty and most recently delivered a first time central heating grant funded programme targeted at the fuel poor.

"The borough is also participating in the ‘Red Rose Fairer Power’ initiative to make available better fuel tariffs for those in fuel poverty."

The report revealed Chorley had a lower than national average per cent of houses below the fuel poverty line, (9.8 per cent).

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: "We've provided around £0.5m each year for the past four years to district councils to help people at greatest risk of their health being affected by having a cold home.

"Improvements that could be provided include replacement boilers, heating system repairs, standard loft and cavity wall insulation, and specialised insulation where traditional measures cannot be used. The funding is used to help individuals unlock further grant funding available from government for improvements to their home.

"We're currently working with district councils to prepare the launch of affordable warmth grants for the coming winter."