‘Scandal’ over Barnsley’s fuel poverty numbers

Michael Dugher MP
Michael Dugher MP

One in ten households in part of the Dearne Valley live in fuel poverty, according to new figures.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed statistics that show more than 10,000 households in the Barnsley borough live in fuel poverty.

This includes almost 4000 households in the Barnsley East constituency, which includes Wombwell and Darfield.

Michael Dugher, Labour MP for Barnsley East, described the figures as a scandalous.

He claimed Labour’s plans to make at least five million homes more energy efficient over the next 10 years would benefit Dearne residents by cutting heat loss and the cost of bills for low income families.

Mr Dugher also said the party’s commitment to freeze energy prices up to 2017 would help struggling householders in the area.

He said: “It is shocking that one-in-ten households in Barnsley are fuel poor.

“This scandal has to stop.

“In the past four years, energy bills have increased by a staggering £300.”

He added: “Investing in energy efficiency is the best way to keep bills down and to lift people out of fuel poverty.

“I am backing plans to help low income and fuel poor families across Barnsley, to help save households on average, an estimated £270.”

Mr Dugher has also backed plans to provide half a million personalised home energy reports a year.

These would detail how residents can save money on their bills through greater insulation and energy efficiency.

The Government has defended its policies in tackling the causes of the UK energy crisis.

Efforts to help tackle the problem have included the energy company obligation, a £1.3bn-a-year fund for the poorest contributed by energy providers.

Baroness Verma, parliamentary under-secretary for energy and climate change, said at a conference in October the government’s “long-term view” in tackling the issues around energy prices was the right approach.

She added that constant policy changes could affect investor confidence in the industry.