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4 Million Suffer Fuel Poverty in UK

terratech | 04.07.2007 14:47 | Social Struggles | Liverpool | London

This Damaging claim comes from the charitable organisation `National Energy Action`, from which it says the government is acting illegaly in not forefilling its obligation to Eradicate Fuel Poverty.

This damaging claim comes from the charitable organisation `National Energy Action (NEA) ` as it puts its case to Gordon Brown (PM), after the government own report on energy openly admits that it cannot meet the legally binding deadline to eradicate fuel poverty by 2010.

Coming after another report by Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes in which similar figures have been quoted must be a spur to the Gordfathers claims as quoted on today’s PMQ`s that his premiership will be all about looking after the safety of people.

However, can this claim be taken seriously as during his term as the chancellor the Government cashed in on the increases in fuel costs with a huge rise from the tax paid by North Sea gas companies and on VAT bills. Very little of this was seen to be used to help families struggling with their bills then.

From the research it has to be pointed out that electricity prices have surged by 39% and gas prices by 61% between 2003 and 2006, which has meant household energy bills costing on average £814 a year in 2006. Householders even under the present climate of a drop in prices are now even paying three times more than those in 2004, which spent £590 a year on bills.

Sticking to their message William Gillis of the NEA and Chief Executive said: “We do not believe the fuel poor should be abandoned. The Government’s targets are legally binding and we will continue to press them to provide the necessary programmes and resources to meet the targets.

The NEA is urging Mr Brown to:

•Increase the grant maximum for the Warm Front scheme - Warm Front measures are increasingly exceeding the grant maximum and NEA is calling for the higher rate of grant to be raised to £5,500. Presently Warm Front offers £2,700 for gas central heating improvements

•Maximise income through benefit entitlement checks - an estimated 1 in 3 pensioners entitled to Pension Credit do not take it up. NEA has called for support to be given in the application stage for vulnerable and elderly householders eligible for benefits

•Introduce a universal, obligatory social tariff – energy suppliers should be required to offer advantageous ‘social tariffs’ to their vulnerable customers

•Improve access to micro-generation and other renewable technologies – many fuel-poor households live in properties off the mains gas network with no cavity walls to insulate. NEA recommends that new micro-generation technologies, like air-source heat pumps and solar thermal heating be considered to meet demands for affordable heat

The Government’s plans to date suggests that its failure will be compounded even more as its own Fuel Poverty Advisory Group’s (FPAG) annual report in April this year suggested annual expenditure of £1 billion was required between 2008-2016 to meet the overall target of ending fuel poverty by 2016. These revised targets like we have seen in so many other sectors cannot give anyone confidence that any householder will be safe until more funds are allocated and penalising the poor stops becoming the norm.

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