Over 20,000 households living in fuel poverty across Teesside

Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop yesterday (6th June 2013) highlighted the extremely concerning levels of fuel poverty across his constituency as he revealed almost 18% of households in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland are struggling with energy bills.

Latest figures show there are 7,278 households in fuel poverty in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, which is 17.7% of all households. Figures from other areas of Teesside are just as damaging. In Redcar, 7,469 households are in fuel poverty (19.1% of all households) and in Stockton South 6,743 households in fuel poverty (15.5% of all households).

Tom raised his concerns during topical questions to Energy and Climate Change ministers.

Tom said:
“Energy bills are soaring and there are warnings that more people are being pushed into fuel poverty. But the Government, which can afford a £3 billion tax giveaway for the highest paid people in the country, has chosen to slash the budget for helping fuel poor households and leave some of the most vulnerable people in the country out in the cold.

“In my constituency there are over 7,000 households living in fuel poverty and the story is the same across Teesside. Since this Government came to power, the average family’s energy bill has gone up by more than £300 a year. This Tory-led Government is out-of-touch, out-of-date and puts the interests of the big energy companies ahead of ordinary families and pensioners struggling with soaring energy bills.

Labour & Co-operative candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley, added:
“At a time when families are facing record fuel bills and energy companies are enjoying huge profits, government needs to step in and support families. But the Government’s energy policy is hurting, not helping.

“The budget for helping fuel poor households with their energy bills has been slashed and with the end of Warm Front, the Government’s failure to ensure that the energy companies meet their obligations on energy efficiency, and serious question marks over whether anyone will actually want to take out the Green Deal, the number of people getting help to insulate their homes has plummeted.

“Labour is prepared to stand up to powerful vested interests in the energy industry. Our plans would provide real help now, as well as reform the way our energy market works for the long-term.”

Labour’s plan includes:

  • Forcing energy companies to pool the power they generate and to make it available to any retailer, in an attempt to open the market and to put downward pressure on prices.
  • Abolish Ofgem and create a tough new energy watchdog with a statutory duty to monitor wholesale and retail energy prices, and the power to force energy suppliers to pass on price cuts when the cost of wholesale energy falls.
  • Requiring energy companies to put all over-75s on their cheapest tariff, which could save as many as four million pensioners as much as £200 a year from their annual energy bills.

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