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MANCHESTER Budget Day vigil highlights 1000s dead this winter due to cold, damp homes (Fuel Poverty Action)

news release

Location: Market Street, Manchester (outside Boots / near Cross Street junction)

Start time: 1pm (slow procession to Piccadilly Gardens at 1.45pm), Wednesday 6th March

On the day of the Spring budget announcement, Wednesday March 6th, a coalition of movements will gather to mourn lives cut short and made miserable by fuel poverty this winter, and demand change on behalf of the millions struggling with high bills and energy debt. WHAT WILL THE GOVERNMENT’S BUDGET CONTAIN THAT WILL END THIS SUFFERING THIS YEAR?

Pensioners, disabled people and fuel poverty campaigners will demand fundamental reform of the energy system, including a free, universal band of energy (Energy For All) and a properly resourced national retrofitting programme.

Recent figures from the End Fuel Poverty Coalition reveal that 16% of UK adults (8.3m people) live in cold, damp homes, exposed to severe risks to health. The impacts are disproportionately faced by disabled people, those with pre-existing health conditions, people of colour, older people and young children. Yet the Labour Party is indicating it will spend much LESS than planned on a national insulation programme.

The participants will point to 4950 excess deaths during the winter of 2022-3, and insist that the next Government takes action to transform and regulate the energy system in favour of consumers, not corporate profits.

The event is part of a National Day of Action in support of the Unite 4 Energy For All campaign, which will see demonstrations, stalls, vigils and die-ins in 15 towns and cities across the country to demand Government action to prevent further loss of life through a national Energy For All guarantee and a complete overhaul of the energy sector, from generation to supply.

Working with Unite Community branches are Fuel Poverty Action, who first launched the Energy For All demand, along with supporters the National Pensioners Convention, Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts, High Peak Green New Deal, Manchester Friends of the Earth and Manchester People’s Assembly.

“Given the sheer scale of the problem, we need to see transformative levels of investment and action, to stem the huge social and economic costs of cold homes and ensure our internationally agreed climate targets are met.”

Mike Childs, head of science, research and policy at Friends of the Earth 

“Hopefully today will be the last budget of a Government that has driven mass poverty, broken public services, illness and death. But none of the big parties are offering the bold changes that we desperately need, so today we’re seeing trade unions, pensioners, climate activists and health workers Unite for Energy For All. The next Government’s energy policy should set its goal as ending fuel poverty, not managing it, and the money to do it is right there in energy company profits.”

Stu Bretherton, Energy For All campaign coordinator at Fuel Poverty Action

ENDS

Note to editors:

  1. Interviews, comments and photos available on request, contact: 

Hannah Berry  hannah@fuelpovertyaction.org.uk / 07481 431865  

  1. The simplified demands of the #EnergyForAll campaign:
  • Every household to have enough energy to cover essential needs like heating, lights, hot water and medical aids.
  • An immediate ban on the forced installation of prepayment meters
  • No regressive standing charges on energy bills
  • An urgent nationwide programme to fix poorly repaired, poorly insulated housing
  • An end to the subsidies and private profits for fossil fuel producers which are driving UK energy poverty as well as the climate crisis

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