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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SNP WANTS BETTER DEAL BANFF & BUCHAN FUEL POOR

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

MILLIONS DRAINED OUT OF LOCAL ECONOMY EVERY YEAR

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford, along with other SNP MPs at Westminster, is calling on the UK Government to take more action to help those in fuel poverty, especially those not connected to the gas grid.

In Banff & Buchan thousands of people rely on domestic oil to heat their homes and with prices trebling in less than 8 years many households are finding bills harder and harder to pay.

This week domestic heating oil prices were around 47p per litre in the North-east compared with around 15p a litre in 2002.

For someone taking delivery of 1000 litres this represents a difference in price of £470 compared to just £150.

While mains gas and electricity prices have also increased in that time the difference is significantly less.

In a House of Commons debate on Fuel Poverty the SNP has put across the point that those off the gas grid "slipped through the cracks" and did not receive the benefit of social tariffs.

The SNP are calling upon the UK government to adopt a scheme that they put forward during the debates on last years Energy Act to spread the cost of social tariffs amongst all fuel providers. In response the energy minister has indicated that he is prepared to consider the idea.

Commenting on the issue, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

"It is vital that a wide range of measures are used to help those that are fuel poor.

"For a customer using 2,000 litres of oil a year - which is around 2 fills of an average tank - the increased cost in the last 8 years is around 6 to 7 hundred pounds. This is a whopping increase and money that is making its way into the coffers of oil giants.

"In Banff & Buchan as a whole that equates to millions of pounds leaking out of hard-pressed families pockets and away from the local economy.

"Local distribution firms are not the ones who are making massive profits, it is all going up the chain to the major multi-national companies running the oil industry.

"I want to see a system of social tariffs available to customers using all forms of energy. That is extremely important for people across Banff & Buchan.

"Heat is a basic human need.  For far too long the difficulties of bringing help to those off the gas grid has been rejected as simply too difficult. What we need is a radical solution to ensure that all those who are living in fuel poverty can get the help they need."

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