Securing a warm house this winter

January 12, 2009

Thank goodness it’s finally begun to warm up.  I for one had had quite enough of that icy chill in the air.

For many the cold snap will inevitably mean higher fuel bills, and I worry that it’s the most vulnerable who will be hit hardest. Over the past few days I have spoken to pensioners in Watton at Stone and Letchworth Garden City about the cost of keeping warm with the cold weather affecting their health and weekly budgets. Indeed I have written to Chancellor Alistair Darling about this.

 We’ve all seen fuel bills rise, but they do not seem to come down quickly enough when wholesale costs fall and despite the Government making some money available for things like insulation, ultimately what we need is lower fuel costs in the first place. The Government needs to sort out its energy policy.

 The Government didn’t want to debate energy policy last year, so it was left up to the Conservatives to arrange a debate on energy security, which we did in June. During the Opposition Day Debate I drew attention to the dire state of the Government’s record on renewables compared with other countries. There’ve been a lot of technological advances made in this area recently (carbon capture and storage, combined heat and power, solar and wind technologies have achieved much greater efficiency), many of them made by British companies, yet the UK has hardly begun to take advantage of them because the Government has consistently failed to make decisions and set a clear course.

 Hopefully Ed Miliband’s new department of Energy and Climate Change will mark a change in Government policy. As this recession kicks in people are going to find it harder than ever to pay their bills, and the Government should respond to this by making the effort to get our energy policy right sooner rather than later.

 Of course much of this pain could have been avoided if only they had fixed the roof when the sun was shining – they could have added a couple of solar panels while they were at it.