Alan Whitehead MP

Member of Parliament for Southampton Test

  • Home /
  • News / Alan criticises lack of action on fuel poverty

Alan criticises lack of action on fuel poverty

Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, yesterday criticised the Government for trying to weaken its obligation to tackle fuel poverty.

 

Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, yesterday criticised the Government for trying to weaken its obligation to tackle fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty affects 9743 households in Southampton, according to the most recent statistics which were published in May. Nationally there are 2.4million fuel poor households and last winter saw a 29% increase in deaths linked to the cold weather.

In response to the government’s attempt to water down its legal requirement to eradicate fuel poverty, Labour MPs tabled an amendment to try to force the government to face its responsibilities.

The Labour provision would have set strict targets for reducing fuel poverty and improving the efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. However, this amendment was unfortunately defeated last night in the Commons. This means that, for now, the government can continue to shirk its responsibilities towards fuel-poor households, many of whom will be facing the stark choice between eating and heating this winter.

Both the energy industry and charities recognise that improving the efficiency of our housing stock is the best way to bring the cost of energy bills down and to meet our emissions targets. Measures such as better wall insulation and the upgrading of old, inefficient boilers will become increasingly important in the future, with energy bills set to rise as the scarcity of fossil fuels increases.

In the week where they announced billions of pounds worth of infrastructure spending, the government also saw fit to water down the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). This scheme seeks to help vulnerable households make their homes more efficient, thereby reducing their energy bills. Energy companies will now have twice as long as planned to implement this much needed policy.

Speaking after the debate, Alan Whitehead MP said:

"This government has a feeble record when it comes to tackling fuel poverty. By giving itself no legislative obligation, it can easily water down its responsibilities for the sake of short term savings. What’s actually needed is a long-term, coordinated strategy to upgrade this country’s dreadful housing stock– it’s the only way to limit energy bill rises in the future.

Instead of acting decisively, the government is trying its best to avoid committing itself and is lashing out at the very schemes designed to help address fuel poverty.”

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.