Where now with Fuel Poverty?

The Fuel Poverty bill has been thrown out of parliament as not enough MPs turned up to vote on the bill. With rising energy prices and the challenging financial situation at present surely this was a good move to help those less vulnerable than themselves, who can not claim £60k for a second home.

The Fuel poverty Bill was put forward by David Heath, the Liberal Democrat MP. It is estimated that there are currently 5.5 million households living in fuel poverty; this figure is calculated by the number of people where one tenth or more of their income goes on gas and electricity bills.

The response by charities many of whom supported this bill has been disappointment and upset towards the poor attendance for the bill. It is reported one of the possible reasons for such a bad ‘turn out’ to the bill was due to it taking place on a Friday when many MPs return ‘home’.

Jonathan Stearn, energy expert for Consumer Focus, said:

“We are dismayed that the Government has talked out a Bill to end fuel poverty. The failure of this Bill is a devastating blow for millions of the most vulnerable pensioners, families and disabled people who will be left struggling in fuel poverty.

“The proposed energy efficiency and social tariff measures would have ‘fuel poverty-proofed’ homes and would have stopped the poor paying more for their energy.

“By not supporting the Bill the government have dramatically failed the poorest consumers. We need urgent action to help the millions of at risk households and this is a major lost opportunity. This is a sad day for those who are facing a daily battle to afford to heat their homes.”

Many households are now struggling to pay their energy bills and fuel poverty is a major concern which is spreading and not just isolated to the elderly. The bill hoped to place an “absolute duty” on the government to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016 as well as bringing about a major energy efficiency programme and forcing energy suppliers to offer cut-price tariffs to poorer people.

Within the Fuel Poverty Bill targets of increasing the Energy Performance Certificate rating of the property to a B to C rating were defined. If this was achieved then these households would have substantailly benefitted from improved living conditions with much reduced energy bills. At present the average EPC rating in the country is a D to E on and A to G scale.

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