Councillors join up in fuel poverty fight

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WAKEFIELD Council has launched a campaign against rising energy prices to tackle fuel poverty across the district this winter.

At a council meeting last Wednesday, councillors spoke out in fury at figures showing profit margins of the “big six” energy suppliers had soared from £15 per customer to £125 during the past four months.

They voted in favour of a motion proposed by council leader Coun Peter Box for the council to involve the public in a campaign for the government to take action to cut the soaring cost of energy bills.

In March’s Budget review, the government cut winter fuel payments by £100 for people over 80 and by £50 for those over 60.

Coun Box said: “What we have got now is a rip-off, and it is outrageous that no action has been taken.

“People are really worried about how they are going to face this winter, and we should not leave our elderly people in a position where they are frightened or worried.”

Deputy Conservative leader Coun Geoff Walsh insisted the government had “followed the same line Labour had set out”, but agreed it was time to “get tough” on energy companies.

He said: “It is clear that people face real hardship. We have got parents having to decide if they are going to eat or if their children are going to eat.

“The idea of a campaign across the district is a good one.”

Details on how the public can get involved in the campaign will be announced soon.

Winter fuel payments help older people pay for heating bills and stay warm in the winter. Figures show tens of thousands of elderly people died from cold-related illnesses across the UK last winter.