Journal Column – 19th Jan 2011

This Parliamentary term, despite sitting for less than a year, has already seen many broken promises – most notably the Liberal Democrats’ broken promise on tuition fees. Last week I warned that the poorest in society could suffer the most if the Prime Minister does not stick to his promise to introduce a fuel duty stabiliser. My party has long favoured a new system of regulating tax on fuel in order to mitigate the effects of high prices at the pumps, and for a fuel duty regulator to cap the price of petrol when it rises too quickly. The stabiliser would also affect domestic heating fuel. Following the VAT hike at the start of the year, and a simultaneous rise in fuel duty, motorists have seen 3.5pence added to the cost of a litre. I believe small businesses and families reliant on their vehicles will be bit the hardest by these stringent measures.

I have also recently renewed my party’s calls for action to combat Fuel Poverty. As the former Head of Policy for Citizens Advice, I am acutely aware of the difficult situation many families in Carmarthenshire and throughout Wales find themselves in. Many will know that Fuel Poverty was the main focus of my Maiden Speech in Parliament.

It is quite simply a disgrace that after 13 years of a Labour government in Westminster over 25% of Welsh households are living in Fuel Poverty. This is a damning indictment of their failure to promote social justice. Rural areas such as Carmarthenshire are disproportionately hit once again as many homes cannot connect to the main gas and have no alternative but to use Oil/LPG. I am aware of the costs of domestic oil rising by more than 35% in just 3 months and a rise of 40% in the cost of LPG during the same period.

We need intervention at both international and UK level to stabilise prices. Many countries led by France are calling for a long term international agreement between oil producer and consumer countries to create certainty in global oil prices; and at UK level we need mechanisms to absorb price shocks – that is why the breaking of the stabiliser pledge is so disappointing.

One Response to “Journal Column – 19th Jan 2011” [latest first]

  1. Many in Carmarthen are counting on you to keep your promises. So far we have not been disappointed. I have heard from fellow surfers, in Aberdare and Monmouth for example, who wish they could say the same about their MPs.

    The news from Westminster has been difficult to digest. People are naturally very worried. Your fuel policy is to be commended. Currently, fuel poverty is a nightmare. Please keep up the pressure.

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