Letter: Fuelling the debate

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Hayley Trueman (letter, 12 July) points out that Frank Dobson's White Paper, Our Healthier Nation, fails to involve health authorities in efforts to tackle fuel poverty. The Government's record is worse than that, however. In the last session of Parliament I introduced the Health Care and Energy Efficiency Bill, which would require Mr Dobson to issue guidance to health authorities on how they can help with the problem. My colleague Sir Robert Smith has reintroduced the Bill in the current session.

The body representing those authorities, the NHS Confederation, has recently written to all MPs saying they would welcome such guidance, but health ministers have blocked the Bill. So we have the absurd situation in which health authorities are saying to the Government, "We want to help. Please give us guidance on how we can do so," and the Government saying, "No."

Such is Labour's concern for the 8 million households living in fuel poverty.

SIMON HUGHES MP

(Lib Dem, North Southwark and Bermondsey)

House of Commons

London SW1

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