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Housing Minister urged to tackle fuel poverty

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21/01/2008

Following British Gas’s 15% price hike last week, an alliance of campaign groups today called on Energy Secretary John Hutton to address fuel poverty.

The campaign groups, headed by the National Consumer Council (NCC), have written a letter to Hutton in advance of Tuesday’s second reading of the Energy Bill. In the letter, they warn Hutton that the numbers of UK households in fuel poverty have risen from two to four million over the past four years and will continue to rise if the issue is not addressed. According to the alliance, energy companies should offer low-cost tariffs to vulnerable households.

Commenting on recent price hikes among utility providers, Andrew Hagger, spokesperson for comparison website Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “This increase is going to cause financial heartache for many of us, especially with the energy price hikes coming on top of rising food, petrol and mortgage costs. However, for those on limited and fixed incomes, some will simply be unable to afford this massive rise in prices. There are many pensioners in the UK who were on a state pension and were scared to turn up their heating, even before these massive price rises occurred. There is a real danger that many could freeze to death as we approach the coldest part of winter.”

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