Rise in fuel poverty linked to higher prices, says union

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today accused the government of doing “precious little” to help the millions of people trapped by fuel poverty.

On the day that Centrica announced a rise in profits to £606m for its residential arm, the union is calling for urgent action to stem the flow of people falling into the despair of fuel poverty.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, said:

“The rise in fuel poverty is a blight on this country with hundreds and thousands of people joining the growing numbers now spending more than 10% of household income on energy costs. Without action we are sleepwalking into very cold and dark future.

“The high cost of fuel has made ‘heat or eat’ a dilemma for many families and it is a scandal that 1.6m million children are living in fuel poverty in the UK. Shareholders and directors should not be creaming profits from British Gas and adding to the numbers of consumers struggling with their bills.

“The Government is doing precious little to address this problem. They need to pursue positive and concrete policies to stem the flow of people falling into the despair of fuel poverty. We want a nationwide programme of measures to insulate homes and provide energy efficient central heating systems for domestic consumers.

“This would help counter rising energy costs as well as providing a much needed economic boost by creating thousands of jobs. “ The union is calling on the government to plan for the future with a coherent energy policy that keeps the lights on for all consumers at an affordable price.

Notes to Editors

UNISON represents thousands of members working in the energy industry. We also operate a charity ‘there for you’ that is dealing with members who are suffering fuel poverty.