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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 01:33 GMT
Fuel poverty plea from watchdog
Woman sitting in front of fire
Thousands of households spend over 10% of their income on fuel
A campaign group is calling for urgent action to help cut the number of people who cannot afford to heat their homes.

Energywatch Scotland claims that 650,000 households in Scotland now spend more than 10% of their income on energy bills.

Soaring gas and electricity prices mean almost one in three households is deemed to be in fuel poverty.

Energywatch wants fairer tariffs and smarter meters to allow consumers to manage consumption.

Its "3 and easy" campaign will be launched at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

Graham Kerr, of Energywatch Scotland, said: "Recent record price hikes outstrip the benefits of record public spending on making homes warmer. Consumers in Scotland urgently need a new integrated approach to ending fuel poverty.

Industry, the regulator and governments must come together and take a fresh look at how they can make energy affordable for all
Graham Kerr
Energywatch Scotland

"Individual measures have brought some benefits to a few but have done nothing to reverse the relentless rise in the number of people who cannot afford to keep warm.

"Industry, the regulator and governments must come together and take a fresh look at how they can make energy affordable for all."

Labour MSP Scott Barrie will host the launch of the campaign.

He said that energy companies are "never shy" about passing on increased costs to consumers, but seem "markedly less" ready to do the same when wholesale energy costs fall.

Mr Barrie added: "There is a clear moral responsibility on energy suppliers to join with the Scottish Executive and the UK Government in providing more help to vulnerable, low-income households."




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SEE ALSO
'Poor pay more' for energy claim
02 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Anger over power firm price hike
23 Jun 06 |  Scotland
MSP fires fuel poverty concerns
18 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Scottish Gas prices rise by 22%
17 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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