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MP: 'We must do more to end fuel poverty'

May 18, 2012 2:52 PM

Tim with older personThe 2012 Annual Report on Fuel Poverty Statistics shows that in the UK, fuel poverty fell from 5.5m households in 2009 to 4.75m in 2010. Locally the report showed that in Westmorland and Lonsdale 23.1% of households are 'fuel poor'.

The report shows that in 2010, 8,644 households in Westmorland and Lonsdale were in fuel poverty, which means they spent more than 10% of their income in order to keep warm. Tim has called on the government to hold an urgent review of the energy sector and the impact of their excessive prices on people in Cumbria and consumers throughout the UK.

The cost of household energy has risen more than five times faster than household incomes since 2004, according to a study by price comparison website uSwitch.

The average household's annual energy bill of £1,252 now accounts, for example, for 11 per cent of a couple's basic state pension of £11,175 a year, according to the research.

Added to this was the announcement by Centrica, the parent group of British Gas, which warned that it might have to increase energy bills this winter by at least £50. Even though Centrica have announced they made a £2.5 billion profit in 2011.

Scottish and Southern Electric announced a profit for the year to March 2012 totalling £1.3 billion on Monday.

Tim said: "It is good news that fuel poverty went down in 2010 but we shouldn't be complacent. With the rises in energy price rises in the last few years, many households have been struggling in Cumbria. We should continue to work hard towards eliminating fuel poverty in our area.

"People who are struggling with their energy costs can contact me to see what help is available. I encourage everyone who is eligible to apply to the Warm Front Scheme, which will provide insulation and heating improvements to reduce costs and keep people warm.

"We need more social tariffs for pensioners and people on fixed and low incomes. I want to the government to force companies to do this; no-one should have to choose between heating and eating."