AS the Winter Approaches and Fuel Costs [...]; the Government Must Give Itself Legislative Power to Regulate the Price of Energy
AS the winter approaches and fuel costs soar, there is little doubt that more and more people will be forced into the invidious position of choosing between heating and eating.
Our story today shows that a higher proportion of people are suffering "fuel poverty" in Wales than in poor areas of London.
At first this may seem unsurprising, for is it not the case that the UK capital is the richest city in Europe? As defined by the European Union, Inner London certainly has the highest income level per head of any region in all 27 member states. But that doesn't tell the whole story by any means. Within London there are huge disparities between the wealthy areas occupied by the mega-rich and districts where multiple deprivation is manifest. In the context of such inequality, it is sobering to note that 45 of the 50 poorest communities in London and Wales are, in fact, in Wales.
Having such knowledge is all very well, and over the years we have got used to statistics that prove just how poor some of our communities are. But there is something distasteful about impotent hand-wringing. If politics is about anything, it must mean implementing policies that ensure the most vulnerable of our citizens can afford both to eat and keep themselves warm.
It's more than the most vulnerable who are affected by rising energy prices, of course. The incomes of ordinary workers are increasingly squeezed by wage freezes and, for most of the more fortunate, rises that are below inflation. …