Early winter fuel payments issue

ANGUS MP Mike Weir attended a Ministerial Round Table on the problems facing off gas grid energy consumers last week.

The event brought together ministers from four UK government departments with representatives of the industry and consumer groups.

Mr Weir, who has campaigned on issues around off grid said he was encouraged by the meeting.

For far too long UK governments, both Labour and Tory, have failed to take action to help those energy consumers off the mains gas grid. The issue always seemed to be parked in the “too difficult” pile.

He said: “The meeting was a step in the right direction bringing together representatives from across government, industry and other groups to examine the issues.

“I was particularly pleased that following years in which I have campaigned on the issue of early winter fuel payments for off gas grid pensioners, including bringing forward a private members bill, the Department of Work and Pensions appear to be softening their opposition to the idea.

“They have indicated that they are now prepared to look seriously at the issue and see whether a scheme, or something similar, can be brought forward. This is in marked contrast to their previous absolute dismissal of the idea.”

Mr Weir added that consumer and local groups around the country also brought forward some interesting ideas on other practical measures to assist those off of the gas grid.