WINTER is fast approaching, the weather men forecast a big freeze, the fuel companies are to increase their prices by an average of 18% and the Winter Fuel Payment is to be cut. It makes grim reading, especially for the pensioners of Burnley and Padiham.
It is obscene that at this time, when pensioners face soaring fuel bills, the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition Government intends to slash the Winter Fuel Payment for pensioners. The Winter Fuel Payment was introduced by the previous Labour Government to bring an end to pensioner fuel poverty and ahead of the General Election opposition parties promised to protect the payment.
We now hear that next month the payments for senior citizens aged over 65 will be reduced from £250 to £200 and payments for the over 80s will be cut from £400 to £300. During the last year we have all seen a lot of promises broken but this really must take the biscuit. Is making poor and vulnerable pensioners pay for the mistakes of the greedy bankers the action of a caring Government?
The last time the Conservatives were in charge we had Edwina Currie telling pensioners to wear long johns when they couldn’t afford to heat their homes. Now we have Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, failing to challenge the greedy fuel companies and telling pensioners to shop around to find the best fuel price.
Age UK predicts this winter 200 old people a day will die because of their inability to keep their homes warm. Welcome to David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s Britain.
COUN. JULIE COOPER
LEADER OF LABOUR GROUP