UNISON is calling for action not words from politicians to address the rising fuel poverty crisis facing families across the UK, following a new report from the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee today (20 December).
While the government’s own fuel poverty advisory group is reporting that another 300,000 families have descended into fuel poverty since last Christmas, UNISON has called the fact that families will be facing the Dickensian dilemma of ‘heat or eat’ in modern Britain a ‘scandal’.
UNISON’s national officer for energy Matthew Lay said:
“As Christmas draws near, families are facing a desperate situation fuelled by the greed of energy companies and government inertia. It is a national disgrace that in modern Britain families should face the choice of ‘heat or eat’. “Sadly the reforms promised in the government’s recent Energy Bill will actually make matters worse. The costs of implementing the recommendations are to be passed down to the consumer, adding yet more to already sky-high household bills. It also ignores the simple fact that profits and dividends among all the energy companies are on the increase and many of them are on the must-buy list of stock-broking firms.”
“Words are not enough, it is time for action.”
The union is calling for radical government action involving using some of the money it gets from carbon taxes to help make homes super-energy efficient – with excellent insulation, renewable energy and modern boilers. This would reduce energy usage, reduce bills and importantly put people back to work providing decent employment opportunities. It could start straight away and turn around the fortunes for families across the UK.
UNISON has seen increased demands on its own charity ‘there for you’ for help this winter and is providing help and assistance to many this Christmas.