Is there evidence of households making a heat or eat trade off in the UK?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of York
  • Sheffield University


This paper explores the popular idea of a ‘heat or eat’ dilemma existing for some households. The mixed-methods research finds that there is a relationship 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 nuance in household decisions around energy use. Qualitative data analysis indicates 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.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-243
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Poverty and Social Justice
Issue number2
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Destitution, Food poverty, Fuel poverty, Heat or eat