MPs admit increasing energy bills are causing widespread public distress

12 January 2015

Charity says serious questions remain about how parties will help millions suffering from cold homes

A recent cross-party poll of Westminster MPs by NEA (National Energy Action) has found that over 90% admit that rising energy bills are a major concern for their constituents this winter and will be a key election issue this year.

The poll of 100 MPs has prompted the charity to call on all parties to do more to help those households most impacted by living in a cold home. The new information comes to light following warnings to the Prime Minister and MPs last year that thousands would sadly die needlessly over winter as local NHS services fail to cope with cold related hospital admissions. The charity claims the NHS is currently bearing a yearly burden of £1.5bn treating cold related illnesses and over 30, 000 lives could have been saved since 2010 if the current Government had given greater priority to the issue.

The charity’s national spokesperson, Maria Wardrobe, said: “Consumer anxiety towards rising energy bills is at an all-time high and our politicians know we also must reduce the huge pressures cold related illnesses are putting on the NHS. However, serious questions remain about how the main political parties will seek to help millions of households that are currently suffering from cold homes.

“A much more ambitious approach to domestic energy efficiency can help slash household energy bills, bring an end to fuel poverty, drive down carbon emissions and NHS costs, reduce winter deaths whilst significantly boosting the British economy. We also believe that no alternative investment can deliver so much. However, to bring about this necessary transformation, we urgently need a strong cross-party commitment that recognises that current policies are insufficient and a new funding stream will be needed in the next Parliament.

“There is already robust, independent evidence highlighting the benefits of this enhanced approach. However, to help prioritise the issue, NEA has created a free online awareness module for MPs and elected officials. We hope this can raise awareness amongst Parliamentarians and hopeful election candidates about how they can help their constituents who are struggling to cope. We also hope the resource highlights the huge opportunity of prioritising this issue and the difference their support can make”.

NEA’s is currently running the Warm Home Campaign which will run until the end of winter. As well as the online module available at www.actionforwarmhomes.uk/more-ways-you-can-help/parliamentary-module, NEA has also launched a campaign website www.actionforwarmhomes.uk where MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates and members of the public can find out more about ‘the scourge of fuel poverty’ within their specific parliamentary constituency.

ENDS

EDITOR’S NOTES

  1. NEA is the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people. For further details visit http://www.nea.org.uk.
  2. As public concern towards rising energy costs continue to dominate as a crucial election issue, NEA is seeking to raise awareness of the key challengefuel poverty continues to present within the UK, as well as highlighting the opportunities presented by enhanced action. NEA has therefore created a free, condensed, online course for MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates to discover more about current fuel poverty legislation, methods of recognising and supporting fuel poor constituents, alongside our recommendations on desirable policy options which could end the scandal of cold homes in the future. All you need to participate is to go to www.elearning-nea.co.uk, select the course entitled “Fuel Poverty Causes, Impacts, Change”, enter the enrolment key and provide your name and email address for validation.
  3. The online module has been released as part of NEA’s Warm Homes Campaign which is asking all politicians to help put an end to the hugely damaging consequences of fuel poverty by adequately addressing it within their party’s manifestos.
  4. The charity estimates that in 2013 HM Treasury benefited from approximately £1.5bn in taxation on domestic electricity bills and whoever wins the next election, this is set to increase to approximately £3.5bn by 2020. As a result, NEA will continue to campaign for each of the main political parties within Northern Ireland, England and Wales to support the positive case for recycling revenues from environmental taxes such as EU-ETS and the Carbon Floor Price back into more ambitious energy efficiency programmes that can help beat fuel poverty.
  5. Contact Peter Smith at NEA on 07595 780893.
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