Help slashed for fuel poverty victims

  • @simonnread

The Government has slashed the amount of cash it gives to help those in fuel poverty by a quarter.

The shocking statistic has emerged from analysis published today by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE).

The Association found that the money received by the fuel poor in England has been cut by 26 per cent between 2009 and 2013, taking into account all the Government’s new policies.

Further the budget for energy efficiency measures has been cut by 44 per.

It means the number of vulnerable households in England receiving home insulation will fall from 150,000 in 2009 to 100,000 in 2013.

Jenny Holland of ACE said: “Instead of tackling the blight of fuel poverty, the Government has spent far too long twiddling its thumbs: two and a half years reviewing how fuel poverty is defined while at the same time drastically eroding budgets to tackle the problem.”

Labour’s Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger said the government’s policies are pushing more homes into fuel poverty, rather than tackling the problem.

“The most effective way people can save money on their bills is by improving their property’s energy efficiency - but ministers are so out of touch they are making this harder to do,” she said.

She said the government should ensure that everyone gets a fair price on their gas and electricity by completely overhauling the energy market.

The news comes against the background of alarming research from Age UK last week which showed that the soaring cost of heating homes is leading to more winter deaths than ever.

Over the past decade there has been an average of 26,700 excess winter deaths each year and the charity has calculated that the extra care arising out of illnesses caused by the cold cost the country some £1.36bn every year.

Meanwhile students at Glasgow University will tomorrow demonstrate outside SSE’s office in the city to launch a campaign against energy price rises.

The Stop the Rip-off campaign wants the Big Six energy firms to roll back recent price rises of between 6-11 per cent. It also demands an end to expensive pre-paid energy meters and support for free universal home insulation.

The students also want the big energy firms to help eradicate fuel poverty.