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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 June 2008

Cosmetic measures against fuel poverty

THE GOVERNMENT'S plan, announced last week, to tackle fuel poverty doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

Some 2.5 million households are in fuel poverty - defined as those paying 10% or more of their income on fuel bills. Under the plan, the government will hand over personal details of low-income families to energy supply companies to provide tariff advice.

Apart from the worrying issue of data protection, these plans will not address the unfairness of those on low incomes typically having to pay around 140 a year more using pre-paid meters, compared to those paying quarterly bills or by direct debit.

Also, how can people without a bank account switch to a cheaper tariff? And even if low-income customers do have a bank account, will they have sufficient funds in them to cover a quarterly or direct debit payment?

Help the Aged charity described the proposals as a "sticking plaster to hold back a catastrophe".

The government's announcement comes at a time when gas and electricity supply companies have been hiking up fuel prices and making billions in super-profits. These companies have also made a whacking 9 billion from the Emissions Trading Scheme, designed to curb greenhouse gases.

So will Gordon Brown impose a windfall tax? Unlikely. Better still, will Labour renationalise the utilities giants to provide low cost energy? Not a chance!

Dave Carr

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In The Socialist 3 June 2008:

New Labour's failures: Don't just get angry, get Active


Environment and socialism

Editorial: Target 'ecological' taxes at the biggest polluters

Heathrow protest: Demonstrating against a third airport runway

Cosmetic measures against fuel poverty


Socialist Party workplace news

Belfast Airport workers: The long battle for justice

Come to the national shop stewards network conference

National Shop Stewards Network second conference advert

Union members reject pay insult


Socialist Party campaigns

Don't deport AmDani Juna

Keep our NHS public

Nottingham: Student protests at arrests


Socialist Party review

Engels: A Revolutionary Life


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth against racism

London Youth Against Racism activity

National demo against racist BNP

Students step-up struggle

Berlin: 8,000 school students strike


Housing crisis

Markets cannot end house building crisis

Nationalise Bradford & Bingley


Environment: Nuclear power

Nuclear power: An expensive and dangerous failure


Football

The beautiful game, with beautiful profits for some


International socialist news and analysis

Lebanon - civil war or rule by sectarian landlords

Israel: Olmert will go, but the political crisis will stick


 

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