Westminster leave rural fuel poor out in cold

SNP Westminster Energy spokesperson Mike Weir MP has hit out at the UK Government’s ‘Check, Switch and Insulate’ campaign for leaving the rural fuel poor out in the cold.

The campaign follows the Prime Minister’s recent “fuel summit” and calls upon consumers to Check prices with competitors, Switch to new providers and insulate their homes – options that do not exist for many off-grid energy customers.

Speaking at Scotland Questions in parliament Mr Weir hit out at the failure to deal with the situation facing rural homes who use home fuel oil and asking the Secretary of State how he suggested off grid customers either check or switch when there is, in many areas, an effective monopoly on home fuel oil.

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Weir, who has campaigned on this issue throughout his time in parliament, said:

“Yet again the UK Government’s campaign on fuel poverty has left the rural fuel poor out in the cold. There is simply no prospect of many of those who use home fuel oil to either compare prices or switch suppliers since there is a virtual monopoly in many areas.

“The prices of home fuel oil has rocketed in the same way as gas and electricity, yet there are no social tariffs in this market and what little action the UK government are now proposing on fuel prices totally fails to address the issues in this sector.

“Clearly it is vital that everyone insulate their home as much as possible and the Scottish Government is strongly pursuing this issue.

“Insulation itself will not, however, tackle the problem of rural fuel poverty and particularly for those on home fuel oil. Action must be taken to, at the very least, give users the same social tariffs that are available to on gird gas and electricity customers, and ensure real competition between suppliers.

“For far too long successive UK Government’s have simply swept this issue under the carpet. The issue is serious and must be tackled.”