Rowen angry at blocked 'Warm Homes Bill'

March 26, 2009 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul RowenThousands of Rochdale residents will continue to suffer fuel poverty because Government blocked a recent parliamentary bill, says MP Paul Rowen.

The bill was thrown out because less than 100 MPs turned up to vote it through.

"Thousands of Rochdale residents are struggling to afford to heat their homes, including four out of five single pensioners and I'm disgusted that other MPs connived to make sure that people are kept in virtual poverty," said Mr Rowen.

"The Fuel Poverty Bill was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP David Heath and would have delivered a massive home insulation programme in Rochdale which would have halved the energy needed to heat the average home. And it would have ended the scandal of those who use pre-pay meters - generally the least well-off - paying higher rates for their gas and electricity.

"The Bill had the enthusiastic support of organisations that represent the vulnerable, from Age Concern to Disability Alliance to the Child Poverty Action Group. And because it would have also cut harmful carbon emissions it also has the strong backing of environmental campaigners like Friends of the Earth.

"That is why I cleared my diary to enable me to be in Parliament on 20 March to vote for the bill and help ensure it passed its first hurdle. It is a sad indictment that Labour and Conservative MPs, including many locals ones, failed to give the bill the support it needed.

"The battle to protect those in fuel poverty in Rochdale must go on."