Sefton Central MP warms to homes campaign
No family should have to choose between heating and eating this winter, says Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson.
The MP is backing National Energy Action’s Warm Homes Campaign to help residents meet their fuel bills.
The charity has started the campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those in fuel poverty and the difficult choices they are having to make. There are solutions available, say the charity.
Mr Esterson said: “It is unacceptable that in this day and age people have to choose between keeping them and their families warm and putting food on the table. But due to changes in benefits, wage stagnation and rising prices generally, more and more families are struggling to find the money to meet all their bills.”
National Energy Action (NEA) says the most cost-effective and enduring solution to ending fuel poverty is increasing investment in domestic energy efficiency.
But, they say, poor earnings growth, cuts to working-age benefits, the roll-out of universal credit and above-inflation rises in the cost of essential goods and services (including energy) are having a huge impact on the poorest in our society.
Mr Esterson added: “Living in fuel poverty can mean no money to top up the meter, or buy oil if your home doesn’t have a gas supply. It can lead to families living in damp and mouldy properties that they cannot afford to keep warm. We want to give children the best start in life and expecting them to grow up in homes that are cold, or go hungry, is atrocious.”
A National Energy Action spokesperson said: “We advise people to take regular meter readings and submit them to their energy suppliers in order to keep an eye on energy use and keep bills accurate. Too many estimated bills can mean customers underpay and then get hit with an unexpectedly large bills.
“If residents are in debt to their energy suppliers and struggling to pay, they should speak to their supplier as soon as possible. They could set up a payment plan to help manage to repayments.
“You can also get advice on energy debt from Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 or your local Citizens Advice Bureau and visit www.gov.uk/browse/benefits to check you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.”