Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for more action to help those most vulnerable with rising fuel and energy costs
Today in the Senedd, Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, asked Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice what steps are being considered to provide additional support to those living in fuel poverty ahead of the anticipated rise in the energy price cap later this year.
Up to 45% of all Welsh households could be in fuel poverty following the price cap increase of April 2022, using the Welsh fuel poverty measure. The last estimates collected for Ynys Môn in 2018 estimated a rate of fuel poverty higher than the Welsh national average at the time.
In his question to the Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:
“The level of people in fuel poverty is astonishing, and we see how the cost in terms of energy and fuel as part of the cost-of-living crisis more broadly is deepening from day to day, nearly, and the financial hardship that some of our most vulnerable constituents are seeing.
“There is an expectation for fuel prices to rise again, as the cap rises further later in the year. And my question is: what steps are the Welsh Government taking now to consider the options for providing additional support to our most vulnerable constituents when that heavier blow arrives later in the year?”
In response, Jane Hutt, the Minister for Social Justice agreed with the comments, and whilst noting some of the further measures being taken by Welsh Government – including starting to pay the next iteration of the fuel support scheme earlier, she also called on the UK Government’s responsibility to address the energy price rises.
Mr ap Iorwerth also referred to the impact the cost of living is having in Ynys Môn and the rise in demand for foodbanks. He congratulated the new joint partnership of Anglesey Council and Wild Elements announced this week, an innovative local project to supply Anglesey food banks with fresh produce.
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added:
“The work being done locally to support those most in need and feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis is so very appreciated – but it is shameful that we need these measures.
“There is much more that can be done to tackle this crisis. UK Government must also take action to lower the price cap for lower income households to ensure they can meet costs of their energy needs amongst other crucial measures.”