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NEW FIGURES HIGHLIGHT GROWING 'FUEL POVERTY' PROBLEM IN HINCKLEY AND BOSWORTH

March 4, 2009 10:15 AM

Soaring energy bills have left an estimated 6,266 households in Bosworth constituency in fuel poverty this winter, according to new figures highlighted by the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Bosworth, Michael Mullaney, is demanding the Government act urgently to help people struggling to pay their fuel bills and is calling on MPs of all parties to back the Fuel Poverty Bill being introduced by Liberal Democrat MP David Heath.

HE said:

"These new estimates from Consumer Focus are truly shocking.

"More than one in six households here in Bosworth are in fuel poverty this winter, including four out of five single pensioner households.

"It's not hard to see the culprit. Over the last five years average gas and electricity bills have more than doubled. The prices being paid by energy companies for fuel on the wholesale markets are coming down, but the companies aren't passing on the cuts to their customers. And meanwhile they are making big profits. This is totally unacceptable.

"As a result growing numbers of people are struggling to afford to heat their homes.

"As recession bites, here in Hinckley and Bosworth and across the country an increasing number of people are being faced with the dreadful choice between heating and eating.

"I am calling on the Government to take urgent action to help people struggling with high fuel bills.

"The Fuel Poverty Bill currently in Parliament, proposed by Liberal Democrat MP David Heath, would deliver a massive home insulation programme which would halve the energy needed to heat the average home. And it would end the scandal of those who use pre-pay meters - generally the least well-off - paying higher rates for their gas and electricity.

"The Government must give it their support.

"And energy companies, who have made billions in windfall profits from the European Emissions Trading Scheme, must be made to pay for the programme, as well as being told to cut bills faster for their customers."