NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
I have written to the Chief Minister today (see below) asking what steps he is taking to understand the nature and extent of fuel poverty on the Isle of Man caused by recent energy increase including the recent hefty increase in the price of gas.
I have also asked what provisions are in place to assist those people who will have difficulty meeting energy charges in the winter period.
Almost a decade ago fuel poverty was recognised on the Island as potential contributory factors in winter deaths. The pressure on household budgets today is even greater than it was then. While some will struggle to meet the increased costs and have to restructure other household expenditure to accommodate the corporate greed at Manx Gas for others the issue will literally untenable.
It is important the government do not sleep walk into a disaster that costs lives.
“The Chief Minister
Allan Bell MHK
Chief Minister Office
Isle of Man
14th November 2015
Dear Chief Minister,
As long ago as 2008 the World Health Organisation warned that fuel poverty was contributing significantly to ‘winter deaths’ principally (but not confined to) the elderly.
In that year organisations like our own and also elderly people’s charities on the Island spoke out urging action ahead of that winter.
Last year in the United Kingdom it was estimated that 15000 died unnecessarily between December and March because of fuel poverty. Indeed figures calculated by the Association for the Conservation of Energy using official ONS data together with provisional figures for 2014 calculated that there have been 158,880 excess winter deaths during the five years of the last UK Parliament. It reckons that around 47,660 of them were down to people living in cold homes.
There is therefore solid data which links significant numbers of winter deaths to fuel poverty.
Bearing in mind that Isle of Man household incomes were in a much more stable position in 2008 when concerns were first raised and also given the increases in energy costs of not just gas but electricity (in the spring) would you agree that some form of action plan needs to be in place to address difficulty caused by fuel poverty in the months ahead?
Does the government have any idea of the number of households that may be impacted?
Do DHSC have in place any system to provide immediate relief to those whose circumstances are such that they cannot heat their homes adequately?
Have the Manx government advised (as the UK is doing) the safe ambient temperature for homes in winter and are you encouraging people who believe financially they cannot meet that threshold to contact government agencies?
Will your government assume powers so that energy suppliers cannot disconnect at risk persons or families?
I look forward to hearing from you (or the relevant government body you charge to deal with these queries) as a matter of urgency.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”
NOTE: If you think you will be unable to heat your home adequately seek assistance now. Contact government agencies like DHSC also and most importantly CONTACT YOUR MHK and make sure you confirm any approach to them in writing.
Issued by: The Celtic News
THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE. The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues https://celticleague.net