There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.
‘Again we see disabled and older people sacrificed on the altar of privatisation, market forces and Tory ideology. People are dying from the cold in a country which is still one of the world’s largest economies. This is a national disgrace and those responsible -providers, policy makers and those who represent them – should be madeto answer for their actions.’
Paddy Murphy from Disabled People Against Cuts
If you read nothing else please click the following links to read about and attend demonstrations this weekend against fuel poverty
Big Six profits up 700%’
In the UK there are 3.5 million homes in which people live in fuel poverty. Shocking isn’t it. It is estimated that this will almost double to nine million by 2016
You are considered as living in fuel poverty if more than ten percent of your income is spent on paying your energy bills.
Today one of four mothers have to make a difficult decision to choose between feeding their children and heating their home, a choice no parent or anyone else should have to make.
A recent poll shows eight out of 10 families are already rationing the heat in their homes, as millions slide closer to “fuel poverty”. Further increases in the price of fuel are expected in the coming months. Nine out of 10 of those “rationing energy” wear extra clothes instead of turning on the heating, 56 per cent turn it off altogether when their children are out, and 45 per cent wrap up in a duvet or blankets to keep warm during the day.
The Office for National Statistics has announced that there were 24,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2011-2012. The World Health Organisation estimates that 30 per cent of these deaths can be attributed to cold indoor temperatures.
Recent research shows that the money received by those in fuel poverty has been cut by 26 per cent, with energy efficiency measures to help the fuel poor slashed by 44 per cent.
When is enough enough. We cannot allow this one of the gravest social injustices of our time to continue.
Last month began the increase in the energy tariff for my family and I of £15 per month after our energy provider raised their standard tariff. That’s right £15 per month in addition to so many other price hikes brought about by the usual greedy money grabbers: supermarkets, house insurance, car insurance, petrol, water and sewerage. Just a few examples common to many of us among the seemingly never ending list of greed driven profiteering businesses that grow yearly along with government taxations (income tax, Council tax and VAT).
Energy, Food , the price of which is rising at double the rate of inflation http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9572171/Misery-for-households-as-food-prices-soar-at-twice-the-EU-average.html rent or mortgage take the largest slices of our income and for many of us struggling on low wages, pensions and benefits, adequately heating our homes takes one of the biggest shares.
A YouGov poll found that 73% of those questioned fear how they will be affected by the rising cost of living in 2013. Energy bills topped the list of concerns, followed by rising petrol prices at 13%, rent or mortgage payments at 12% and food shopping at 10%.
Despite assurances from the Tories that they would not interfere with the winter furl winter fuel allowance to the shock of many pensioners it was cut in 2011 by £50
We are a family of three adults living in a tiny end terraced stone built house. It has three bedrooms though two may more accurately be described as large cupboards, a sitting room kitchen and bathroom. With the exception of the sitting room, which has two radiators and the stairs that has none, each room has one radiator. In the bathroom and the smallest room 8×10 the radiators are small and provide little warmth. There is no stand alone gas heater in the sitting room. We have a combi boiler.
We paid about £1,500 last year to inadequately heat our home. Each month £135 has to be found from our income just for gas and electricity. Mostly the heat setting is between 60 to 65 degrees except when exceptionally cold then it is raised to 70 degrees and no more. The house is rarely warm unless the weather is unusually mild.
Each room is riddled with damp. I mean serious black mould damp. At the top of the landing the wall and ceilings are peppered with mould and water literally runs down the walls of the exterior walls in the tiny spare room. The bathroom is riddled with mould and to a lesser extent the bedrooms of our son and ourselves. Despite a considerable expenditure about six years ago for a damp course the damp gets worse every year. After recommending that we needed a damp course the company that carried out the job now blames condensation and advises that the house is kept heated at a constant temperature. Impossible of course with today cost of heating. (Incidentally caution should be taken before having damp proofing carried out many people pay considerable amounts for a damp course that they do not need. Another story for another time.)
So here we live with the stink of damp, the chill of under heated rooms and an annual bill of over one and a half grand! No there is no way we can reduce our use of gas or electricity short of turning it off. I am chronically ill and cannot live in an unheated home. We try not to turn it on until it gets too cold if the weather is reasonably mild otherwise on colder days it is turned on at 8.00am until 10.00pm. Most of our house is constructed of stone, It takes several hours for the heat to build up in our home so we cannot turn on our heating for just a few hours in the evening as the house would not be warm before we even went to bed. As for insulation helping to cut down on fuel bills in my opinion this is just a joke, it has little or no effect. Admittedly we cannot have cavity wall insulation except in one wall of a brick built kitchen extension. We have loft insulation but if you cannot afford to turn your heating on all the time what is the point. Besides I consider that insulation is one of the greatest contributors to damp, at least condensation damp.
Winter is a miserable time. Unless you have experienced it yourself you cannot imagine what it is like to get out of bed everyday and see that thick black mould growing up the wall which persists even when washed with bleach! Fortunately this year and last there have been periods when the temperature is mild and last year we hoped that this would effect the bill. However despite last year being so mild our bill was more, much more … well it would be wouldn’t with such huge price hikes. You simply do not stand a chance.
If the exploitation of a vital resource essential to life in cold climates is allowed to continue more and more people will be plunged into fuel poverty having to choose between heating and eating until eventually there will be no choice as food prices rocket, and do not forget the cost of heating is reflected also in the price we pay in shops as business recoup the extra fuel tariffs from their customers with increases in prices in addition to escalating price of food and other commodities.
Enough is enough time to demand the renationalisation of Gas and Electricity. It will never be really cheap it never was but now we not only pay for our gas and electricity but we pay for the huge profits accrued by the unbridled greedy energy suppliers. Never before have people struggled to pay their energy bills in quite the same way, never has their been such deprivation, such misery.
Here are some examples of how people are struggling with this one of the greatest social injustices of our time along with the draconian welfare reforms, low wages increasing unemployment and so called austerity measures. An ill conceived mix of disaster for all those concerned, perpetrated by the wealthy and over privileged who if the social progress of previous decades had continued should have become an anachronism of a bygone age instead of the decision makers who cart blanch rule our lives with no mandate, on compassion, no empathy and frankly no idea. The present government and to a lesser extend previous governments in the last few decades have set the social progress of this country back sixty years. The government have put the profits of the few before the welfare of the majority. There are few who do not struggle to pay energy bills but the hardest hit are families on a low income, sick and disabled and people on a pension.
When will society question the right of a very few people to live in comfort with an obscene excess of material wealth beyond their needs while others go cold and hungry?
Read their stories question why this is allowed to happen in one of the richest countries in the world. The UK maybe a rich country but the majority of its citizens are anything but, as poverty rises by leaps and bounds
“My wife an I live on a state pension, with a bit of pension credit added on it comes to just over £200 a week the fuel gas and electric we get from one supplier and we have to pay just over £100 per month that’s a big amount out of our pension we really have to be very very careful……. Never in my working life was I out of work so I paid all my dues over the years, I was in a low paid job but I managed to bring up my children and at the same time bought the small house we still live in, so no housing benefit.. It is a struggle”
“When I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome I had to leave my job as a graphic designer. As it would take some time before I was fully well enough to work again I decided to do something which I had always wanted to do which was to get an art degree. However while studying for my art diploma I was hit by a massive rise in fuel bills. In an instant they doubled. It was around £50 one day and then it went up to £104 over night!
I was shaken and scared as it suddenly meant that I didn’t have enough money to buy food.”
Continue reading Sandra’s and other stories:
While it is great that Turn 2 us offer help and advice this grave issue of social injustice remains. It seems increasingly that people are being led towards charities for help that the state should provide or to counteract injustice such as the privatisation of vital resources by the government. Rather reminiscent of times past don’t you think. In a just society there should not no need for charity
Video: The reality of living in fuel poverty
Simon is in his 30s and suffers from the mobility disability cerebral palsy. He also has a speech impediment. He claims Disability Living Allowance, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit and is also self employed.
Spending a lot of time at home and not being very mobile Simon needs to maintain a temperature of around 24oC as he is very sensitive to cold conditions.
Read more of Simons story and others :
While help is at hand the point remains that these exploitative charges are unfair and unjust. Many people struggle without such help and at the end of the day the charge for a vital resources is killing people and will continue to kill people until such a time that the government does something to stop it.
You can read more stories here:
Action you can take:
Join the Great fuel Robbery demonstrations
Lets make 2013 the year that sees an end to this great injustice. If we do nothing, than nothing will change. It always seems bizarre to me that the mass of people whose lives are detrimentally effected by the few take it all in their stride, do little but grumble amongst themselves and even come the next election vote for yet another incompetent criminal government having been once gain beguiled by lies and promises that governments have no intention of keeping and who will yet again allow thousands to die of cold and live in poverty and deprivation.
“Will 2013 be just another year of price hikes, profits and poverty? Or will it be the year that we say enough is enough? We want to Stop the Great Fuel Robbery. If you do too, join us in our weekend of fuel bill assemblies and action February 15-18.”