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Please ask your MP to support David Heath's Fuel Poverty Bill

February 25, 2009 5:41 PM

Liberal Democrat MP, David Heath was drawn second in the ballot for a Private Member's Bill in December and has decided to adopt the Fuel Poverty Bill that aims to insulate the homes of the least well off and limit the exposure of vulnerable households to high energy bills.

Sadly, year after year the government has failed to take the necessary action to deliver on their statutory targets to end fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010 and in other households by 2016. They have been repeatedly taken to task by their own Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, whose last annual report contained the damning verdict: "The government's policies and lack of action have now made it impossible to meet the 2010 target".

Last autumn Help the Aged and Friends of the Earth took the Government to court for failing to comply with their legal commitment. Disappointingly, in a perverse judgment (which is being appealed) the High Court let the Government off the hook by ruling that the targets were merely "aspirations".

More than 20,000 people die from the cold during the winter and many more become ill. The average fuel bill is now more than double what it was five years ago, and energy prices continue to rise. That is why the Fuel Poverty Bill is so important.

The Bill has two main objectives. The first is the launch of a major energy efficiency programme to "fuel poverty proof" the homes of the fuel poor by bringing them up to the energy efficiency levels enjoyed by new homes. The second will be the use of social tariffs to limit vulnerable households' exposure to high energy bills.

The Bill will be debated in Parliament on Friday 20th March and it is essential that 100 MPs attend the House and vote for David Heath's Bill to ensure that it receives a Second Reading.

Please therefore write to your local MP urging him or her to support this important and timely Bill by attending the House on 20th March.