Half a million pounds has been proposed by the Progressive Alliance Cabinet to support people through the energy crisis, as households are facing soaring gas and energy bills.
The Labour and Liberal Democrat-run administration has suggested provisional budget spending of £250,000 for an energy crisis fund to help those in extreme fuel poverty, and £250,000 for energy efficiency measures, such as insulation, for people on fixed incomes.
Councillor Pete Marland, Labour Leader of the Council, said: “While the Conservative Government is frozen trying to defend a Prime Minister who broke the rules and lied about it, we’re proposing half a million pounds to help our residents struggling with fuel bills. The Progressive Alliance will continue to help people when they need it the most, and I’m proud of that.”
It has been reported that gas and electricity bills could rise by as much as 75% from April, when the Government reviews the energy price cap. This drastic increase – partnered with the National Insurance hike, increased cost of living, and inflation – could plunge even more families into poverty.
Lib Dem Councillor Jane Carr, Cabinet Member for Tackling Inequalities and Child Poverty, added:
“The Progressive Alliance has, once again, stepped in to help our residents when the Conservative Government has not. This half a million pounds will protect the most vulnerable from poverty, and ensure they don’t have to choose between buying dinner, switching the heating on, or being in debt.”
Aside from providing financial relief, the energy efficiency measures proposed by the Cabinet will also help households reduce their carbon footprint.
Labour Councillor Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, concluded:
“Insulating homes will reduce energy use, and therefore reduce fuel bills, all while benefiting the environment. These measures will provide struggling families with much-needed financial relief, and help us achieve our target of being carbon neutral by 2030.”
The £500,000 to combat the energy crisis has been proposed as part of the Progressive Alliance’s budget for 2022/23, which will be discussed by councillors later this month.