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Monday, January 27, 2014

AM backs call to make fuel poverty key priority

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood is supporting calls for fuel poverty to be made a central priority of the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Strategy.
Raising the matter in the Assembly Chamber with the Finance Minister this week, Mr Isherwood, Chair of the Assembly Cross Party Group on Fuel Poverty and Shadow Minister for Communities and Housing, said:  “Given that the Welsh Government has decided to include fuel poverty within its Tackling Poverty Strategy in the Communities and Tackling Poverty portfolio, how do you respond to the statement in Consumer Futures’ draft work plan for 2014-15, that, ‘in Wales, we will seek to make sure fuel poverty is a central priority for the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Strategy and commands sufficient resources to address the scale of the problem’?”
The Minister, Jane Hutt, said improving the energy efficiency of homes is the most direct way that Welsh Government can tackle fuel poverty and referred to the Welsh Government’s Arbed and NEST schemes.
However Mr Isherwood has stressed that these two schemes do not make a fuel strategy.
He said: “Uniquely amongst the UK nations, the Welsh Government  has scrapped its Fuel Poverty Advisory Group and rejected calls in the 2013 UK Fuel Poverty Monitor for its reinstatement.
Whereas the NEST and Arbed schemes are welcome, they alone do not make a fuel poverty strategy and I hope that the Welsh Government will heed Consumer Futures’ call.”

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