Steve Webb’s early day motion about fuel poverty and energy prices

If you are member of the United Kingdom Parliament and you want to institute a debate on a matter of great importance, the procedure that you have to adopt is called an early day motion. You write down the wording of the motion and then seek a debate, but very few early day motions are matters that are debated. The Government of the day effective controls the Parliamentary timetable, and squeezes out the motions of back bench members, who are elected in order to try and get these matters debated and thus create a demand for legislation to correct injustices. Instead early day motions are now ways that a Member of Parliament can use to publicise a matter.

One of the pressing problems that will become unfortunately more pressing in the next year is that of fuel poverty. The Government is under a statutory duty to abolish fuel poverty, in which people spend more than 10% of their income on fuel for the home and their energy bills.  There are likely to be five million households in this condition next year, as energy prices are uncontrolled and as energy tariffs for those on low incomes present a maze as complex as those tariffs charged by cell phone companies.

Steve Webb is the Member of Parliament for Northavon, and is the member who serves the area in which the Genersys warehouse is located. He is a Liberal Democrat and put down an Early Day motion on 15th December about fuel poverty. Here is what Mr Webb wanted the House of Commons to debate:

That this House is gravely concerned that around five million households will experience fuel poverty this winter; notes that many consumers may be paying too much for their energy because of the bewildering complexity of the different social tariffs that are available and because of the penalties for customers with prepayment meters; recognises that much of the United Kingdom housing stock is poorly insulated, leading to even higher fuel bills; observes the estimated £9 billion windfall received by energy generators from the free availability of permits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme; and calls on the Government to lay a duty on Ofgem to require the energy companies to spend their windfall on a programme of energy efficiency measures including home insulation and the swift installation of smart meters, and a mandatory roll-out of standardised social tariffs guaranteeing cuts in energy prices for customers facing fuel poverty this winter.

It is a great shame that his carefully and well worded motion will not be debated by the House of Commons, because without such a debate there is unlikely to be any significant change in Government energy policy, which fails those in fuel poverty.

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