MP ‘extremely worried’ over cost of heating oil for people in rural Wales over the winter
A Conservative MP said she was “extremely worried” about people in Wales who rely on oil deliveries to heat their homes ahead of the coming winter.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones said she was concerned that people in rural mid-Wales would be among those who suffer most as fuel costs soared.
Those who use oil are not protected by the energy price cap due to UK environmental goals, and the UK Government have said that they have no plans to set a price cap on heating oil.
In mid-November, the average cost of a 500-litre batch of heating oil was £250, but by the beginning of March, this had jumped to £500 per 500l.
By the end of last month, the cost had increased again to just under £600.
Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones said: “66% of my constituents live off the gas grid and rely on heating oil deliveries to heat their home, obviously not in these temperatures today, but I am extremely worried about oil deliveries later this winter.
“Can the minister confirm that he has his eye on these constituents which are a huge part of rural Britain?”
The cost of heating oil has more than doubled in recent months, leaving many families in rural locations struggling.
Business minister Greg Hands replied: “Wales is actually the part of the UK with the highest percentage of those off the gas grid. I know that her rural part of Wales is likely to therefore be right at the top of those who are most affected by the rise in heating oil.”
Mr Hands said those living off the electricity grid “will benefit from the £400 energy bill rebate”, adding the Government had put £1.1 billion into the home upgrade grant scheme to “provide energy efficiency and clean heating upgrades to support lower-income households living off the main gas grid”.
He added: “Obviously, we are continuing to monitor the situation extremely closely, particularly for those most vulnerable, most rural constituents like hers.”
Last month the Welsh Government has launched its own £4 million scheme to help some of the most vulnerable households with spiralling energy bills.
The national fuel vouchers scheme will be administered by the Fuel Bank Foundation and targeted towards people with prepayment meters and households that are not connected to the mains gas.
Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on people in Wales. Today, nearly half of all households in Wales are at risk of falling into fuel poverty. This is deeply shocking.
“We are investing an extra £4m in the Fuel Bank Foundation to roll out a national scheme that covers the whole of Wales and supports people most in need.
“This extra help is for people on prepayment meters and for those who are not on mains gas or electricity – both ignored by the Chancellor in his latest package.”
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