Fay Jones MP has urged Government Ministers to go ‘rethink’ their plans to support rural homes and businesses.
On Friday, the Chancellor outlined a set of measures designed to help families and businesses weather the economic storm. As well as cutting National Insurance, Kwasi Kwarteng announced that energy bills for on-grid households would be capped at two years, with an average household bill limited to £2,500 annually for two years.
However, while almost everyone will receive help with their electricity bills, those who heat their homes with heating oil will only receive a £100 support payment.
Ms Jones was quick to criticise the plans. Speaking in the House of Commons, she told Business Secretary Jacob Rees Mogg that the plans didn’t “touch the sides” of the issue for residents in Brecon and Radnorshire who don’t have mains gas. She urged ministers not to ‘fall into the trap that rural areas are wealthy areas.’ She highlighted the growing problem of fuel poverty and urged ministers to rethink their plans.
In response, Mr Rees-Mogg said that the price of heating oil had not risen as much as the price of gas, however he did commit to reviewing the situation in three months.
Following the Chancellor’s fiscal statement on Friday, Ms Jones said:
“The Government is once again standing by families in Brecon and Radnorshire as we collectively face the toughest economic shock in centuries. Things have been very tough for some months and the government made a number of interventions, not least helping more people to keep much more of their own money – for which I am very grateful.
However, with two thirds of Brecon and Radnorshire relying on heating oil, it’s vital that we do more for those who don’t have mains gas.
Some of the figures being quoted for heating oil are astronomical and even then some deliveries are sporadic. I’m really grateful to those companies who have shown real compassion and flexibility in supporting their customers.
£100 simply won’t make any difference. It’s clear that the Government could do more here. I have already urged the Business Secretary to rethink and will continue to press Government ministers to take more action to support those who live off the gas grid.
On top of this, those living in park homes must qualify for the same support as everyone else. I won’t let the Treasury forget this vital point.”