30 Mar 2009

Green party conference and fuel poverty bill destroyed

Still ploughing through emails from when I was away but also catching up on the recent Green party conference - see our local press release here - Caroline Lucas' speech is worth looking at - but also for more of a flavour there is the blog Green Despatches at: http://greendespatches.blogspot.com/

Photo: Caroline Lucas

And that some of the tweeters have been twitting (or whatever the verb is) which you can see here; http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23gpconf

One of the most shocking bits of recent news is that Labour have destroyed the chances that a fuel poverty bill would become law. The Fuel Poverty Bill was backed by campaigning groups including Age Concern, Help the Aged and Child Poverty Action Group and would have introduced:
* A major energy efficiency programme to bring existing homes up to the energy efficiency standards of modern houses, cutting fuel poverty
* 'Social tariffs' to protect vulnerable people like pensioners from high energy bills

Despite cross-party support for the bill, it ran out of time because Labour decided to 'talk out' the bill, delaying a vote on it until there was no time left in the House of Commons. Ms Ruddock was still speaking after a four-hour debate when the time ran out, killing the bill's chances. The Green party conference passed an emergency motion criticising Labour for their tactics.

As Lewisham Green Party councillor Sue Luxton, who proposed the emergency motion at the party's conference, said: "This bill would have protected millions from the terrible choice between heating and eating, which too many pensioners and other vulnerable people have to make. Many will feel let down by the underhand way in which it was defeated." See more about that here.

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