Tackling fuel poverty

Fuel Poverty in the UK

Fuel Poverty in the UK

It is estimated that 4.5 million households are now in fuel poverty, according to Ofgem.    

As wholesale prices of both oil and gas continue to soar, it is almost inevitable that more price hikes for consumers are on the way.  In 2001, the Labour Government pledged to eradicate fuel poverty by 2010, yet it has in fact increased, leaving the Government’s target in tatters and millions facing a fuel price crisis.
 
The Liberal Democrats have launched a fuel poverty package to tackle this crisis.   The key points are :
 
* Making energy companies invest £500m a year into a rolling programme to make sure homes are properly insulated

* Requiring energy companies to roll out social tariffs to over two million vulnerable customers

* Installing smart meters, which display consumption costs, rather than conventional meters

Vince Cable had an excellent article on tackling fuel poverty, published in the Independent last Thursday – you can read more by following this link – http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/vincent-cable-the-way-to-tackle-fuel-poverty-881263.html

Fuel poverty issue raised in the Scottish Parliament

Full marks to the Scottish Parliament – on Thursday it passed a Liberal Democrat motion urging a holistic approach to tackling fuel poverty – and all credit to Liberal Democrat Energy spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP who has championed the issue. As Liam McArthur has said,
“Over 650,000 households in Scotland are considered fuel poor. The situation is serious and, without urgent action, likely to get still worse. I am delighted therefore that we have achieved consensus across the parliament.

“Liberal Democrats will now look to the Scottish Government to take forward the proposals in our motion, particularly the one-stop-shop approach to tackling fuel poverty and the re-establishment of the Fuel Poverty Forum. The Scottish Government must also heed the parliamentary majority in favour of local tax rebates as incentives for householders to install microgeneration packages.

“I am certain that many thousands of Scottish families struggling to cope with rocketing energy prices will join me in welcoming this positive result.”
You can read more from the parliamentary record of Thursday’s proceedings by clicking on the headline above.

While household fuel prices have risen by six times the rate of inflation over the past year, power companies’ profits have risen by 500 per cent. For every 5 per cent increase in fuel prices it is estimated that 40,000 more Scottish households become fuel poor, while almost 3,000 deaths a year are linked to living in cold, damp housing. So let’s see some concrete action from our parliamentarians on this issue and – as the debate at Holyrood highlighted – the need for a one-stop-shop approach to tackling fuel poverty and the re-establishment of the Fuel Poverty Forum.