Cornwall Liberal Democrats win fuel voucher boost for those on lowest incomes

Fearing losing a vote, on the morning of the budget announcement at full Council, the Conservative administration have incorporated a proposal into their budget, put forward by Edwina Hannaford, Leader of the Lib Dems on Cornwall Council, which will inject £400,000 into the fuel poverty voucher scheme potentially proving a lifesaver to families having to choose between heating and eating.

It’s estimated that 13% of households in Cornwall are in fuel poverty. New data being published in June expects that this percentage will rise significantly from the current 36,000 households in fuel poverty as the price cap is lifted.

The previous fuel voucher scheme administered by Cornwall Energy Plus has run out of funds for this purpose right at the time they are most needed. Cornwall Liberal Democrats proposed a continuation of the fuel voucher scheme using the Covid hardship fund underspend and rolling it over to continue the scheme which issues three £49 vouchers towards fuel bills.

Edwina Hannaford, Leader of the Lib Dem group on Cornwall Council said,

“While millions struggle to make ends meet, energy companies are raking in record profits and people are too scared to turn on the heating. Shell profits this year - £14 billion, BP profits this year - £9.5 billion. That’s a combined profit of over £44,000 a minute. This amendment is about fairness, a core Liberal Democrat value.

“Liberal Democrats want a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, which we believe is the best way to get money to the people who need it quickly and fairly. This ‘Robin Hood’ windfall tax would raise £5 billion to help low-income families – taking more than £300 off their heating bills. Some of this money could go toward insulating homes which both saves on future heating bills and helps us fight climate change. It can’t be right that a few energy fat cats are raking it in from record gas prices while millions of people can’t even afford to heat their homes.

“With the increase in National Insurance contributions from April, we cannot ignore this crisis any longer, while families face an impossible choice between heating and eating.”

Thalia Marrington, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Mousehole, Newlyn and St Buryan said:

“Both Cllr Hannaford and myself are pleased that even in opposition we can still effect change and raise issues that are important to the residents of Cornwall. We are therefore pleased that Cllr Harris has outlined how he will incorporate this amendment to the council’s financial plans.”

Nationally the Liberal Democrats are proposing a windfall tax on energy companies that currently are raking in record profits to help those who most need it.

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