Fylde battle on fuel bills

MP Paul Maynard and (below) Kath Rowson of Blackpool Council.
MP Paul Maynard and (below) Kath Rowson of Blackpool Council.
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THOUSANDS of households are living in fuel poverty across the Fylde coast, a new study has revealed.

The report by the Energy Bill Revolution group listed the constituencies of Blackpool South and Blackpool North and Cleveleys among the top 10 worst affected areas in the region.

Coun Kath Rowson

Coun Kath Rowson

In Blackpool South, 9,622 households – 25 per cent of all the homes in the constituency – are living in poverty.

The picture is no better in Blackpool North and Cleveleys, which has 8,850 homes – 22.6 per cent – still struggling to pay their energy bills.

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “I know how worrying ever growing fuel bills can be to those going through tough times. As a Government, we have focused on quadrupling cold weather payments for the elderly, as well as the Warm Home Discount which will benefit two million low income and vulnerable households by providing discounted bills.”

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Campaigners from the Energy Bill Revolution group are calling on the Government to recycle the taxes charged on fuel bills to fund a nationwide insulation scheme.

The programme of home improvements would then help create jobs and reduce the country’s climate change emissions.

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, added: “I think the group is absolutely right to highlight the fact this money is going into George Osoborne’s Treasury and not on home insulation.

“Many who are being worst hit are older people and they’re people who can’t get the best deals on energy prices because they’re not online and don’t have direct debits.”

Coun Kath Rowson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, added: “Anybody who is struggling to pay their fuel bills can contact the council for help and we will try and help them to reduce the strain on their finances.

“This can include simple suggestions such as signposting them to money and debt relief services, as well as assist them with heat-proofing their house, thus reducing fuel bills in the future.”

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