ACTION ON ENERGY PRICES DEMANDED

Caroline Flint & Anna TurleyCall for action as figures reveal only 40 local households helped to cut energy bills by government scheme last year.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State Energy and Climate Change for Energy and Climate Change joined Anna Turley, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Redcar on Friday (1st March 2013) to highlight the problem of soaring energy prices.

The visit comes as official figures reveal that only 40 households in Redcar received support through the government’s Warm Front Scheme last year.

Warm Front was bought in under the last Labour government in 2006 to help families meet the cost of installing more energy efficient boilers and home installation. During its first 5 years the scheme helped 3,160 households in Redcar and over 19,000 across Teesside.

Under the Tory-Lib Dem Government the number families helped has fallen by nearly 90% compared to earlier years. This is despite the Government’s own figures showing a huge under-spend of £50.1 million, over half the Warm Front budget and while ministers turned away 13,418 families who asked for help.

Caroline Flint joined Anna Turley on the doorstep in Redcar with a petition calling on the government to reform the energy market and act on soaring energy prices.

Labour & Co-operative parliamentary candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley said:

“With the winter energy bills now starting to drop through letterboxes, this is a worrying time for many families across Teesside. The energy companies have been allowed to get away with putting up their prices by eye-watering amounts. At the same time the government has undermined and now axed a scheme that delivered vitals support to householders looking to improve their energy efficiency and cut their bills.

“In Redcar the government helped just 40 households last year.  When Labour were in government we helped 632 households on average each year. ”

“The government needs to get a grip. They need to reform the energy market and ensure families get a fair deal.”

Caroline Flint MP, Labour's Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said:

“People will not understand how the energy giants can get away with inflation-busting price rises this winter when they are already making huge profits.

“The time has come for a complete overhaul of our energy market. We need a One Nation Labour government to break the dominance of the energy giants, open up the energy market, protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off and create a tough new energy regulator with the power to force energy companies to pass on savings to consumers.”

“I’m pleased to join Anna in her campaign to get a better deal for consumers in Redcar.”

Ends

Notes to editors

1.   In January 2013 the Coalition Government axed Warm Front. It will be replaced by 'Green Deal'. A initiative offering a loan for energy efficiency improvements, which will be repaid through energy bill. The Government’s figures show that under the Green Deal the number of people helped will drop further as only a few individuals will be able to afford this due to higher energy bill. The government has re-allocated the underspend of Warm Front money to certain local authorities, Redcar & Cleveland Council did not receive any of this re-allocated money.