Posted: 12 February, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Campaigners calling for more help for those struggling to keep warm this winter have delivered a hand-knitted scarf to John Healey MP in Parliament to thank him for his support.
The scarf was one of hundreds knitted by supporters of the Energy Bill Revolution campaign to mark “Cold Homes Week” – a series of events and activities designed to focus attention on the shocking state of many of the UK’s homes, and the terrible effect they have on the people left shivering inside them.
Cold Homes Week also saw the release of new fuel poverty figures showing 7 million people in England are in fuel poverty – that is they cannot keep their homes warm at a reasonable price. The figures includes 2.2 million children growing up in cold homes. The shocking figure is based on a new Government definition of fuel poverty for England which, when introduced, classified far less people as fuel poor than the previous definition.
The Energy Bill Revolution campaign has brought together almost 180 organisations, charities and companies to call on Government to do much more to help those in cold homes by providing far more support to insulation and energy efficiency schemes. The campaigners point to other countries, such as Sweden, where incomes and fuel prices are broadly similar to the UK, but better housing means far fewer people cannot afford to heat their homes.
The Energy Bill Revolution has identified billions of pounds in “carbon taxes” already being paid by bill payers that currently disappears into the Treasury, and has called on Government to recycle this money into help for households to become more efficient. Such a policy would end fuel poverty in 10 years, and could also provide help for better off families to cut their bills.
John Healey MP said: “Soaring energy bills are contributing to the cost of living crisis afflicting millions of families and pensioners. Bills have gone up by more than £300 since 2010.
“The most sustainable way people can cut their bills is by reducing their energy use, but the Government’s schemes are wasteful and not making enough difference.
“Labour would be tackling fuel poverty, helping people make their homes warmer and resetting the energy market.”
Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution said:
“We welcome Mr Healey’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution. It is clear that the lasting solution to this crisis is to stop homes leaking heat. This must be UK’s number one infrastructure priority, it will save families hundreds of pounds on their energy bills and end fuel poverty once and for all.”