Plaid MP’s maiden speech calls for immediate action to tackle Fuel Poverty

Plaid Cymru’s newly elected MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards, delivered his maiden speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday (June 8th) and used the opportunity to discuss the urgent need to tackle fuel poverty in Wales and across the UK.

Mr Edwards called for measures to be put in place to counter energy prices at local and international level, for greater regulation of the energy market, and to ensure that benefits, tax credits and winter fuel payments are targeted at vulnerable groups.

During the speech, Mr Edwards also paid tribute to his predecessor Adam Price and thanked his constituents for the opportunity to represent Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.

Plaid’s Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“In a modern country it is a disgrace that over a quarter of all Welsh households live in fuel poverty. It is one of the greatest failures of government that people in Wales and across the UK continue to have to make daily choices between heating and eating.

“In the last year alone, average heating bills have increased by 33% – leaving people on fixed incomes terribly exposed – with energy prices in Wales higher than anywhere else in the UK.

“We need action at international, UK, Welsh and local Government level if we are serious about eradicating the blight of fuel poverty from our communities.

“International oil prices need to be stabilised to avoid price fluctuations. This could mean a long term agreement between oil producer and consumer countries as advocated by the French Government; and arguably the use of a more stable trading currency.

“The UK Government needs to raise incomes and ensure that available benefits and tax credits are claimed by those entitled to them. This package should include the extension of the winter fuel payments to all vulnerable groups.

“Secondly, energy efficiency measures should be targeted at the fuel poor primarily.

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