The Green MP Caroline Lucas will today accuse the Coalition of trying to “weasel out” of a long-standing duty to eliminate fuel poverty.

Ahead of today’s Commons debate on fuel prices she has drawn attention to a move by the Government to abolish its statutory obligation to eliminate fuel poverty.

Under the 2000 Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act, the Government has a duty to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. However, the Coalition has tabled an amendment to the Energy Bill in the Lords, which would replace this duty with a commitment merely to address the situation of people living in fuel poverty, without any targets or timescale.

With the support of other MPs on the cross party parliamentary fuel poverty group, Lucas has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for ambitious fuel poverty targets to be reinstated,

The motion urges Government and parliamentarians to support an amendment from crossbench peer Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, which reintroduces energy efficiency targets in order to ensure robust action to eradicate fuel poverty.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:

Gas Flame (PD)It’s a scandal that millions of households in England are currently in fuel poverty, with this figure set to grow dramatically as wages fall and energy costs rise. The Coalition is weaselling out of its duty to help people struggling with cold homes and high fuel bills. Without targets set in legislation, there is no guarantee that this or any future government will take the necessary action on fuel poverty.

The Coalition must rethink its decision to downgrade its commitment to ending fuel poverty and recognise that energy efficiency provides the only cost effective long-term solution to unaffordable bills. This needs to be a higher priority for all politicians. Having clear fuel poverty and energy efficiency objectives in primary legislation is a crucial first step.

This would help drive a nationwide upgrade to the housing stock, which would be a great boost for the energy efficiency industry and jobs too.”

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