Jenny Rathbone AM is very concerned at the number of families living in fuel poverty on one of the coldest days of the year.
Today is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. One in four households in Wales are living in fuel poverty. That’s nearly 300,000 households that cannot afford to keep warm, or who are living in crippling debt to their energy supplier.
Jenny Rathbone said “Whilst we should celebrate the work of the Welsh Government to improve the energy efficiency of up to 25,000 homes in Wales, there is a great deal more to be done. No one in Wales should be living in a cold home and the Welsh Government promised to eliminate the problem by the end of 2018. Urgent action is needed:
- We need to change the building regulations so that all new built houses have to be at least zero carbon energy efficient
- We should use the legacy of Carl Sargeant in establishing a register of all private landlords to ensure all rented accommodation is at least “E” rated on energy efficiency.
“These measures would reward the good housebuilders and the responsible landlords.”
Rising energy prices, poor energy efficiency, stagnant wages, and benefit cuts are leaving many having to make the difficult choice between eating and heating their home. Fuel poverty is a catalyst for many economic, social and health problems, and can even cause death. The World Health Organisations estimates that 30% of winter deaths are caused by cold housing.
The Welsh Assembly’s 2010 Fuel Poverty Strategy aimed to eradicate the problem by 2018. With 23% of people still living in fuel poverty in Wales, it is unlikely that this target is going to be met. National Energy Action (NEA) Cymru is calling for a revised strategy in order to adequately address the issue.
Carole Morgan-Jones, Director of NEA Cymru said:
"We are calling on the Welsh Government to address the problem of fuel poverty and fuel debt by recognising that the 2018 target will not be met. We welcome the investment the Welsh Government is making over the next 4 years. But whilst we know that energy inefficiency is a contributing factor to fuel poverty, this initiative alone will not solve the problem. We also need a new strategy outlining a much more joined-up approach by Welsh Government, local authorities, housing associations, advice and health services, as well as other public and voluntary organisations in society."
Fuel Poverty Awareness Day marks the end of National Energy Action's Warm Homes Campaign. To show your support, use the #FuelPovertyAwarenessDay hash tag. For advice on keeping safe and warm in your home, go to www.nea.org.uk/advice