28 February 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Fuel poverty figures reveal over 7 million household struggling with energy bills
  • Sewage: Govt Minister refuses to protect clean water regulations

Fuel poverty figures reveal over 7 million household struggling with energy bills

New fuel poverty statistics have revealed millions of households are struggling to afford their energy bills.

The government’s annual Fuel Poverty Report showed there were an estimated 3.26 million households (13.4%) in fuel poverty in England in 2022, which is expected to rise to 3.5 million in 2023. A staggering 7.39 million (30.3%) of households in England had to spend more than 10% of income on energy costs in 2022, up from 4.93 million (20.5%) in 2021.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to scrap its plans to increase average energy bills by £500 in April, and instead cut bills funded through a proper windfall tax.

Responding to the news, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

These stark figures show milions of families and pensioners are struggling to afford sky-high energy bills.

It beggars belief that the Conservatives are plannng to worsen this cost of living catastrophe by hiking people’s energy bills by another £500 in April.

People in fuel poverty need support without delay. We need to cut energy bills and expand support for the most vulnerable, funded through a proper windfall tax on oil and gas giants making record profits.

Sewage: Govt Minister refuses to protect clean water regulations

Today, the Liberal Democrats held up proceedings in the Committee Stage of the Retained EU Law Bill to save regulations that protect both swimmers and wildlife from sewage and other water pollution.

The Bathing Water Regulations and Water Framework Directive are both at risk of being scrapped under the Government’s new Retained EU Law Bill, which aims to remove hundreds of pieces of legislation from UK law.

Liberal Democrat Peers have tabled amendments to the Bill to ensure these two regulations are immune from being discarded.

Government Ministers were forced to treat these regulations separately, with a new debate about whether they should be retained before the remainder of the Bill could be discussed – holding up proceedings to ensure that rivers, lakes and our coast lines are protected.

Lord Benyon, Minister for DEFRA, responded saying that “simply, the Bill is an enabling act, it is up to departments and devolved administrations as to what they do on specific pieces of policy.”

The Minister said that he did not expect the Government to reduce their standards on water quality, however he ultimately refused to say whether these two specific regulations would be protected under the REUL Bill.

Lord Benyon also claimed the Government was both “committed to protecting and enhancing water quality” and “respects the significance of the Water Framework Directive”, but said that a list of regulations which would be protected was forthcoming.

Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Bakewell, who tabled the amendments, said:

Evidently, Conservative ministers are not afraid of creating a ‘Sewage Dumpers’ Charter’.

This is short-sighted politics at its worst, they are putting political posturing above the well-being of our rivers, lakes and swimmers.

Risking these regulations is reckless and irresponsible. Liberal Democrats will continue the fight to stop Ministers from casting aside the health of our people and the future of our wildlife with a single, irresponsible stroke.

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