Worthing Lib Dems call for Tory action as fuel poverty spending slashed - Adur & Worthing Liberal Democrats
Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Lib Dems call for Tory action as fuel poverty spending slashed

Worthing Lib Dem Shadow Member for Health & Wellbeing Michael Donin has today called for local Tories to act as fuel poverty spending is slashed.  Newly appointed, Michael has hit the ground running making the call after reading a shocking new report from the Association for the Conservation of Energy which shows funding to help fuel poor households had dropped by almost a third. To make matters worse, national spending on making homes more efficient will be cut by over 50% by 2013.

The latest available figures show Worthing had 6,035 fuel poor households in 2009 – equivalent to 13.3% of the total 45,349 households.  With energy price rises having doubled in only six years, new figures out today will almost certainly show a rise in the number of households forced to choose between heating and eating.

Experts estimate at least £4 billion a year should be spent nationally on improving the energy efficiency of homes but only £540 million has been budgeted for next year.

Fuel poverty statistics estimate the number of households that need to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory heating regime, as well as meeting their other fuel needs (lighting and appliances, cooking and water heating).

Cllr Donin is particularly qualified to address this issue as he was the original Chairman of the Adur & Worthing Councils’ Fuel Poverty Working Group two years ago.

Michael said:

“Everyone is aware of the continual steep rise in energy costs which will push more and more of Worthing’s households into fuel poverty.  With national funding being cut back so severely I am calling today on the Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing to take action to alleviate the situation. It’s time to dip into those healthy reserves.”

Media Contact:

Cllr Michael Donin – Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing- (01903)601786

For further information and sources please contact Energy Bill Revolution campaign www.energybillrevolution.org

Christabel Mitchell

Energy Bill Revolution

Mobile: – 077922 58572

Earlier this year Worthing Liberal Democrats signed up to the Save the Children’s “No Child Left in the Cold” campaign to end fuel poverty affecting Britain’s poorest families.

Save the Children warned the vast majority of parents who cannot heat their home last winter were not getting any help from energy suppliers.

According to Save the Children, 800,000 of the poorest families qualify for a £120 discount on fuel bills under the Warm Homes Discount scheme, but a huge funding shortfall means only 25,000 families will get it or just 3% of those eligible.  With at least 82,050 families with children in the South East eligible for the payments, families in Worthing are certain to be affected following the last shocking report on Child Poverty published by the Director of Public Health.

Research shows growing up in cold, damp homes can slow children’s development, worsen long-term problems like asthma and lead to rises in hospital admission rates. Save the Children’s research revealed over half of the low income parents of children under 16 are worried their children’s health will suffer as their house is too cold this winter. Nearly a third surveyed said they won’t be able to afford their winter energy bills and almost half (45%) said they are considering cutting back on food in order to pay their energy bills.

This is the link to the latest statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/statistics/fuelpoverty/2181-annual-report-fuel-poverty-stats-2011.pdf

Our last Shadow Cabinet Member Bob Smytherman took over from Michael Donin who chaired the first Worthing & Adur Fuel Poverty review that was presented to the Council earlier this year and this is the link to full report and recommendations that were agreed by both Councils.

The Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee last discussed progress (or the lack of it) on Thursday 12 January

http://www.worthing.gov.uk/your-council/decision-makingcabinetcommitteeinformation/joint-overview-and-scrutiny-committee/18november2010/pdffile,76173,en.pdf

Save the Children campaign information

– Save the Children wants all families eligible for Cold Weather Payments to be paid the Warm Home Discount. Cold Weather payments are made to families on very low incomes (for example those in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance) with either young children or children with a disability. These families are considered most at risk of fuel poverty and the effects of the living in a cold home. Other groups, such as older people on low incomes and disabled adults, can also get help through Cold Weather Payments. Cold Weather Payments of £25 are usually paid when there are seven days of continuously cold weather.

– Consumer can sign Save the Children petition calling on the CEOs of the biggest six energy companies to commit the money needed at www.savethechildren.org.uk/coldkids.

– Follow the No Child Cold Left in the Cold campaign on twitter #coldkids.
– The Marmot Review concluded that hospital admission rates, developmental status and asthmatic conditions were increased by growing up in cold damp homes. And more than one in four adolescents living in cold housing are at risk of multiple mental health problems compared to one in twenty adolescents who have always lived in warm housing.
– The average duel fuel bill currently stands at £1,345 (Source: Ofgem) with low income families often paying a lot more because they can’t access the best deals.

– 59% of parents polled are having to cut back elsewhere to afford their energy bills this winter, regardless of their income
– 55% of parents polled are worried about being into pushed into debt if they can’t afford their energy bill.