MP calls for energy price cap to cover heating oil
On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, Cumbrian MP Tim Farron called on ministers to expand the energy price cap to include heating oil to help people in rural areas deal with the rising cost of living.
19,200 households across Cumbria rely on heating oil as their main fuel. The Government caps electricity and gas prices, but it does not offer similar protection to heating oil customers.
Prices of heating oil have more than doubled to around 95p a litre, compared to 45p in August 2021. It means the cost of heating oil for the average household is expected to soar by between £700 to £1,700 this year.
Speaking during oral Business Questions in Parliament, Tim said: "It's very clear that the rising price of heating people's homes is going to be devastating and go well beyond anything the Government has done to help households so far.
"But for those people living off mains, who are reliant upon heating oil for example - 19,000 households in Cumbria alone - there is no cap whatsoever, and they've seen their prices double over the last 12 months.
"What will he do to make sure that people in rural communities like mine are not hit even harder than the majority?"
Responding, the Minister for Energy, Greg Hands said: "The Government is providing support for those who are off the gas grid. For example those who pay an electricity bill will of course qualify for the £400 reduction this year.
"We also have £1.1bn put into the Home Upgrade Grant, on top of the £2.5bn already deployed to make that vulnerable households - which could well include some of his constituents - are able to profit from energy measures put forward by this Government.
"I think his question on the price cap is a reasonable question to put. The information that I have directly from the trade body UKIFDA is that a price cap would be extremely difficult for their members who are the people who are in the retail market for heating oil because it becomes a very, very difficult for a small businesses to hedge.
"But it is something that I discuss with MPs, with the industry and with the trade body regularly to see what more can be done and that situation is under constant review."