Labour’s candidate for the next election in Bridgwater and West Somerset has called for far more action to tackle cold, draughty homes as Government figures show that 4,300 households in the constituency are officially classified as being in “fuel poverty”.
Mick Lerry says the figures lay bare just how hard rising energy prices have hit household budgets in recent years. Millions of households both above and below the poverty line are noticing a real squeeze.
And the government is watering down measures that could help. It recently announced that developers will only have to build homes to Code Level 4, which will result in a smaller improvement in energy efficiency of 44%. This contrasts with the previous expectation to move to Code Level 5 which would result in a 100% improvement on the old regulations. The Government also announced that small developments, those with less than 50 houses, will be exempt from meeting the zero carbon requirements. This is a clear indication that Government is not taking fuel poverty in the UK seriously.
Promise to freeze energy prices
Labour has already promised to freeze energy prices after the General Election in 2015. Now local Labour candidate Mick Lerry is also calling for more to be done to help people insulate homes. Countries such as Sweden have very little fuel poverty, despite much colder weather and energy prices that are similar to the UK. That’s because their homes are so much more energy efficient. Despite this, insulation schemes under the Coalition Government have been drastically cut back, making it more difficult for people to improve their homes and keep them warm.
Mick has therefore joined with over 180 charities, campaign groups, unions and companies making up the Energy Bill Revolution coalition to call for a huge programme to upgrade the energy efficiency of our homes, starting with those lived in by our poorest and most vulnerable households. Previous work by the Energy Bill Revolution has shown that improving homes like this would create more jobs, be better for the economy, and be more popular with the public than any other major building project.
Mick also called on local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger to press the Government to do far more to help people get warmer homes, and to speak out against the cuts in insulation schemes that the Government has announced.
Cllr Mick Lerry, Leader of the Labour group on SDC
Labour Parliamentary candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency