Shropshire Star

People in rural Shropshire will be forgotten victims of energy crisis, says MP

Families living in fuel poverty in North Shropshire are set to be left hundreds of pounds poorer than those in urban areas after October’s energy price rise, new research has revealed.

Helen Morgan

The research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats shows that the standard ‘fuel gap’ - simply known as the extra income that would be needed to bring a household to the point of not being fuel poor - is set to rise to £1,050 in rural areas during October.

This compares to a projected fuel poverty gap of £600 in urban areas, meaning fuel poor homes in places such as North Shropshire will need around twice as much support to bring them out of fuel poverty than those in urban areas.

The independent analysis was completed by the House of Commons Library at the Liberal Democrat’s request.

While the increase of the ‘fuel gulf’ to £1,050 for most is staggering, households with the poorest insulation rating in North Shropshire (energy efficiency rating of F or G) can expect to experience a shocking average fuel poverty gap of £3,350.

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan, the Lib Dem spokesman for levelling up, is campaigning for people who live in rural areas like her constituency to get extra cash to help them cope.

This includes extra support for off-grid homes reliant on heating oil which is not subject to Ofgem’s energy price cap.

She said rural areas face the risk of becoming the “forgotten victims” of the crisis.

"People who live in the countryside now face overwhelmingly large heating and energy costs and risk becoming the forgotten victims of this energy crisis. Not only are the prices steep, but inconsistent and unfair compared to those experienced by people who live in more urban areas.

“The Tories talk about levelling up while actually leaving rural areas behind – it’s the same with healthcare, broadband, buses and fuel costs. The fact the Government have been aware of this crisis for months but failed to take action shows how little the Conservative Party cares about rural areas, where families face an extra burden because of where they happen to live.

“The upcoming energy package must take the rural fuel poverty gap into proper consideration and provide appropriate support to families in need in places like North Shropshire - including those who live off-grid and depend heavily on heating oil and other energy sources.”