Campaigners call on election candidates to sign up to Affordable Warmth pledge

Highland and Island housing associations, local authorities, fuel poverty action groups, Citizens Advice Bureaux, and other groups have come together to support an Affordable Warmth Manifesto for the region.

In it they “call upon all General Election candidates standing for Highland & Island constituencies to pledge that, if elected, they will do their utmost to bring the long-standing energy pricing unfairnesses being applied to Highland & Island households to a rapid and conclusive end”.

Chairman of the Highlands & Islands Housing Associations Afnordable Warmth Group, DJ Alexander, which produced the manifesto said: “We are inviting each of our prospective political representatives to tell us exactly where they stand on the four key issues spelt out in our Affordable Warmth Manifesto.”

Key Issues

Standing charges and the price of a standard unit of electricity should be exactly the same wherever you live in the UK

There should be no delay in equalising the standard electricity price in the Highlands & Islands

Offpeak/’economy’ rate electricity should also be made available to domestic customers at exactly the same minimum unit cost wherever they live in the UK

The currently unregulated domestic heating oil and LPG (bottled gas) supply market in the Highlands & Islands should be thoroughly investigated with a view to Government intervention (regulation and/or subsidy) that results in retail prices being brought down to UK averages

Chairman of the Western Isles Fuel Poverty Action Group, Councillor Angus McCormack, said: “The situation in the Highlands and Islands is scandalous and we expect our politicians to nail their colours to the mast and give a public promise do something about it quickly.

“Surely no one can pretend that it is acceptable, for example, that over two-thirds of all Western Isles households have to live in serious fuel poverty but at the same time have to pay so much more for their electricity and other heating fuels than anywhere else in the UK ? It’s got to be sorted once and for all and the ultimate responsibility for this lies with our politicians.”