Skip to main content

Fuel Poverty

Volume 733: debated on Tuesday 23 May 2023

In 2022 there were an estimated 3.26 million households—13.4%—in fuel poverty in England. The Government recognise how difficult the increase in fuel bills, caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine, has been for households across the country.

Recent figures show that energy companies such as Shell make £61,000 a minute. Meanwhile, there are families—13,255 families in Luton—living in fuel poverty. I also have pensioners in Luton suffering from chronic health conditions who are risking their health because they cannot afford to put on the heating. The Minister could take action on fuel prices by extending the windfall tax and closing loopholes, so why has she not done so? We do not want any more flim-flam answers. The public are not buying it, the people in Luton North are not buying it, and I am not buying it.

The Government have applied a levy on these energy companies, but the really important thing is the work that we have been doing with those households. We have been giving a lot of support and ensuring that we do the very best for all of those people. In addition, on Thursday 31 May we are launching our “Claim your energy voucher” day, and it is really important that all those on prepayment meters do claim their vouchers.

The Minister just mentioned the work that the Government have been doing, but the Environmental Audit Committee, in its report in January, criticised the Government’s energy efficiency target as “vague” and “unspecific”, saying that they had a poor record on energy efficiency. Meanwhile, 16.6% of households in Blackburn are in fuel poverty. Is the truth not that the pace of energy efficiency under this Government is too slow, and it is driving even more families into fuel poverty?

Just to reiterate, we have taken decisive action to protect customers this winter. We have paid around half a typical household’s energy bill. There are also multiple schemes in place targeted at the most in need, including the social housing decarbonisation fund, the home upgrade grant and the energy company obligation scheme.