Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough is calling for Homes to be made more fuel efficient to make energy bills more affordable. Campaigners calling for this delivered a hand-knitted scarf to Fiona in Parliament to thank her for her 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 focussing 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 figure 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 fewer people as fuel poor than the previous definition.
Fiona Mactaggart MP said, “I’m glad to be supporting this campaign because when the price of everything seems to be going up, incomes are not keeping up. Although there are immediate things that can be done to help people, such as the winter fuel allowance for pensioners introduced by the last government, but the best solution is to help people to make adjustments to their homes so that it is more efficient, they are warmer and their bills are lower. This is the long term approach.”
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.
Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution said “We welcome Ms Mactaggart’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 for good.”