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NEA: Imminent budget offers real opportunity to help eradicate fuel poverty

Next week's Budget must provide vital funds to help eradicate fuel poverty and in doing so can stimulate the country's recession-hit economy, according to national fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA).

NEA chief executive Jenny Saunders said: "A genuine 'green economy' budget should have tackling fuel poverty by improving domestic energy efficiency at its heart.

"The Government has a legal duty to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, and this budget represents a great opportunity to help it achieve this target and stimulate the economy."

Fuel Poverty, where more than ten per cent of income is spent on heating and powering homes, affects more than five million households across the country and the number is growing due to poor home insulation and increased energy bills.

NEA has written to Chancellor Alistair Darling, recommending that he should allocate at least £5 billion per year to a new single Energy Efficiency Fund aimed at improving heating and insulation standards in properties occupied by low-income households.

The charity also wants to see funding for the government's flagship fuel poverty scheme, Warm Front, raised to £525 million with an increase in the grant level to allow installation of new low carbon technologies and super insulation. The work involved in fitting these measures would create jobs and give the economy a boost.

NEA also urges the Government to commit to legislation to force energy companies to offer mandatory social tariffs - allowing poorer households access to cheaper energy.

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