Fuel Poverty Is a Disgrace.
The latest figures on fuel poverty that shows over 6.4 million homes are suffering fuel poverty with a predicted increase to over 9 million in the next four years is not only a disgrace in itself with millions of people of all ages having to suffer but is symptomatic of the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Governments economic policy failure.
A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income to maintain a satisfactory heating regime (usually 21 degrees for the main living areas and 18 degrees in other occupied rooms)
Fuel poverty exists where over 10% of the families disposable income is need to keep a home above the very basic level of warmth and is a throwback to the bad old days when elderly and young families were found to huddle up in one room to avoid suffering from hypothermia.
Believe me there was nothing romantic in having ice on the inside of the windows whatever those who hanker after the good old days would have you believe.
The increase in utility bills and the lack of any meaningful intervention by the Government at a time when the utility services are making record profits and the Government are running around demonising big business for being successful highlights what is wrong with their whole approach to this very serious issue.
Even the Government are now admitting that over 34%, 1 in 3 households will be able to afford to pay their bills by the time of the next General Election (that is if the coalition holds out until 2015).
Translated to Northampton’s households that’s over 27,000 householders who will be unable to pay their utility bills which when taken alongside the fact that the Borough Council already face arrears in council tax of over £6.5 million, the rise in unemployment, changes to family incomes because of inflation and the freeze on wages only increases the demands and pressures on families for those in work.
What the Government should be doing is supporting hard-working families by investing some of the if not all of the £4 billion in Carbon Tax revenue into helping people who are in desperate need and getting more desperate by the day.
Energy groups argue that from their evidence more people die every year in the UK from living in cold homes than die on the roads.
The NHS also have evidence that the number of people, usually the elderly who are most vulnerable, who are being admitted to hospital suffering from illnesses related to living in a poor and cold home is increasing at an alarming rate.
This is of course not only very damaging to the long-term health of the individuals but a stain on their families and friends and a huge and avoidable cost to the Health Service, a cost that if avoided could be spent on either health related front line services.
They say prevention is better than cure which is why the Government and Local Authorities should working to avoid fuel poverty.
There is a petition calling for action that was launched on Monday 27th February at energy bill revolution.org.
Please support the campaign.