Fuel poverty in Devon

“the number of fuel poor older households in the UK could reach over 1.1 million by the spring.”

Devon has more community energy organisations than any other county in the UK

.

It’s going to be a very cold winter:

Millions more face fuel poverty due to soaring energy prices | Daily Mail Online

This week, the independent-minded MP for Newton Abbot voted in favour of a motion on cutting VAT on fuel bills:

“I believe removing VAT is the right thing to do and I won’t apologise for supporting measures that would help my hard-working constituents at a time when the cost of living is rising.”

Tory ‘rebel’ Anne Marie Morris has whip removed after Labour bill vote – Devon Live

Devon’s Tory ‘rebel’ MP Anne Marie Morris has hit back after having the Conservative whip removed again, this time after she voted for Labour’s opposition day motion proposing removing VAT on household energy bills.

Tory ‘rebel’ Anne Marie Morris has whip removed after Labour bill vote – Devon Live

A Treasury minister told parliament on Tuesday that the government “recognises the pressure” that the public was facing on their household finances and energy bills and would “continue to look closely at all the options that exist”

Devon MP loses Tory whip after backing Labour on energy bills | Conservatives | The Guardian

Meanwhile, as reported in the Herald, Age UK have launched a campaign to help older people tackle fuel poverty over the winter:

“The Cost Of The Cold” campaign aims to help older households struggling with rising fuel, energy and heating prices because of the Covid pandemic. The charity issues warning that the number of fuel poor older households could reach over 1.1 million by the spring unless the Government takes urgent action.

Age UK cost of the cold campaign | Sidmouth Herald

There are various actions the government could take:

The UK faces an energy bill crisis. What options does it have to tackle it? | Economic policy | The Guardian

As the situation is pretty bad, according to the latest Excess Winter Mortality report:

New figures have revealed there were 400 excess winter deaths in Devon between 2019 and 2020, excluding those from Covid-19, as calls for the UK government to tackle the cold home crisis intensify.

Hundreds die in Devon ‘cold homes’ | North Devon Gazette

The Energy Infrastructure Group looks at the situation in East Devon in a little more detail:

theeeig.co.uk/constituencies/east-devon

There is some immediate practical advice out there in the meantime.

From Age UK:

How to apply for vouchers to help with energy costs | Midweek Herald

From an East Devon endeavour:

East Devon Log Bank > helping those struggling with fuel poverty – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And from the District Council:

Energy efficiency – East Devon

There are longer-term considerations for Devon too.

A report from April 2021 from the Devon Community Foundation looks at community energy:

According to a report produced by Devon County Council, Devon has an impressive 23 community energy organisations, more than any other county in the UK (most based in and around Plymouth or Exeter), and double the number in 2012. Half of these are registered as some form of social enterprise, established to invest their profits for public good, or for the benefit of members, rather than as charities. Although reductions in feed-in tariffs have limited the extent of these income-generation strands, four of Devon’s community energy organisations have community benefit funds, financed through their renewable energy schemes, which are predicted to invest over a million pounds into Devon communities in the period to 2030.

Fuel-Poverty.pdf

The Devon Climate Emergency group is also championing community energy:

Energy – Devon Climate Emergency

Due to issues over the reductions in feed-in-tariffs, the Sid Valley lost its community energy set-up:

SidEnergy – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Finally, an infographic:

File:How renewables could help fight energy poverty.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

   
© Vision Group for Sidmouth 2005-2022