NEIL Hamilton AM for Mid & West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to address the problem of fuel poverty and debt as a matter of urgency.
Mr Hamilton was commenting after showing his support for Fuel Poverty Awareness Day which took place last Friday, February 23.
The national day highlights the problems faced by those struggling to keep warm in their homes, and also the excellent work being undertaken to tackle the issue.
Mr Hamilton said: “One in four households in Wales are living in fuel poverty, which means nearly 300,000 people, mostly the elderly and vulnerable, cannot afford to keep warm, or are living with crippling debts to their energy supplier.
Rising energy prices, poor energy efficiency, stagnant wages, and benefit cuts leave many having to choose between eating and heating. This is an outrage in the 21st century.
‘The average household has to pay £175 per year on their fuel bill in ‘green taxes’ which, thanks to Government policy, are set to double in the next 5 years or so. This is purely to subsidise windmills and solar farms on the property of wealthy landowners; a grotesque transfer of money from the poor to the rich.
The Welsh Assembly published its Fuel Poverty Strategy in 2010 with the aim of eradicating the problem by 2018. With 23% of people still living in fuel poverty in Wales, this target simply cannot be met.
“Official figures from 2015 show that out of 30,684 households in Ceredigion, 7,643 were fuel poor, which is nearly 25%.
“The facts are no better for Pembrokeshire or Powys, which also showed nearly 25% in fuel poverty.
“These figures are totally unacceptable. No one in Wales should be living in a cold home and more needs to be done to help the most vulnerable in society. By supporting Fuel Poverty Awareness Day we can help wipe out fuel poverty in Wales.”
To show your support, use the #FuelPovertyAwarenessDay hash tag. For advice on keeping safe and warm in your home, go to www.nea.org.uk/advice