Letter: Labour fail on poverty

David Miliband’s recent article (Taking steps to combat fuel poverty, 30 April) reinforces the feeling that Labour is far removed from reality. Rather than a strident defence of people on low incomes in the face of rising energy costs, the article reads more like an apology for the energy industry’s corporate greed and government ambivalence to fuel poverty.

Labour has had ten years to sort out the sharp pricing practices linked with pre-payment meters. Ten years of people scraping pennies together to pay for tomorrow’s light or heat, condemned to pay more than everyone else for their energy.

The government wants to delay even more: waiting for reports, consulting with the energy companies and then, at the very last, possibly introducing legislation – but not to remove unfair pricing practice, but merely “reduce unfair differentials”. Not surprising, given that this government is terrified of challenging corporate excess.

A massive home insulation programme, instead of half hearted tokenism, would have a huge effect in helping keep homes warm, costs down and lower domestic carbon emissions. A national insulation programme should be treated with all the zeal of a war effort.

However, since Labour prizes fat cat appeasement before a progressive and equitable society, this seems unlikely.


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