North Wales Assembly Member Mark ISHERWOOD - HOLD WELSH GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT OVER WEAKENED FUEL POVERTY STRATEGY
Press release /Datganiad i’r wasg
Wednesday November 23rd 2016
North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called for a Statement or Debate in the Chamber on the Welsh Government’s change in approach to its Fuel Poverty Strategy.
Speaking in yesterday’s Business Statement, Mr Isherwood stressed that there are a number of matters which are significant for many.
“In light of the Welsh Government’s review of Building Regulations, we need to explore the Welsh Government’s position in respect of Energy Performance Certificates, which can go up or down solely based on the cost of the fuel, and not on whether the actual efficiency of the home has improved. We need to know whether the Welsh Government believes it should be using cost or carbon savings, or both, as the scoring method for its energy efficiency schemes, particularly if they’re looking to address fuel poverty.
“The Welsh Government’s consultation on the future demand-led fuel poverty scheme proposes to introduce age requirements to the eligibility criteria, alongside property characteristics and financial criteria, effectively removing working-age households from eligibility unless a member has certain health conditions. The Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru are concerned that this will deny help to many households who would currently otherwise be eligible, and risk them being caught in fuel poverty. So, we need to know the Welsh Government’s reasoning for so many, potentially, fuel poor households losing eligibility, and what support will be available to those households to reduce energy costs and have a warm home?
“The Welsh Government consultation also proposes to remove the private rented sector from eligibility, arguing that the Welsh Government’s home improvement loan scheme can fill the gap. But the Fuel Poverty Coalition Cymru are concerned that landlords will not be motivated to take out these loans, leaving private rented tenants without a source of help if they’re in fuel poverty. So, we need to know what data the Welsh Government has on the uptake of home improvement loans by private landlords for energy efficiency measures so far, and an explanation of how it will incentivise landlords to take out such loans in the future.
“Ultimately and finally, we need to know where the intervention and prevention agenda fits into this, not only improving lives, but saving money for statutory services. And where are the Well-being of Future Generations indicators that include energy efficiency?”
The Leader of the House, Jane Hutt, replied: “Mark Isherwood does raise a question that, of course, is being considered through consultation. That is the way in which we certainly want to take forward Government policy: as a result of consultation. Particularly consulting and engaging with those who are experts in the field, and of course that’s what the Cabinet Secretary will be doing.”
Mr Isherwood added: ““it is not acceptable that she should dodge accountability again, where the thought process and evidence base underlying the Welsh Government’s change in approach is key to the well-being of too many.”