Climate change commitments could hurt low income families

MPs are concerned that the new cost of climate change commitments might hurt household budgets with the largest effect being felt by low income families. Concerned MPs stated that making some of the poorest households in the UK pay for environmental commitments that were made by the Government is unfair and therefore should be scrapped.

A report published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change released this week revealed that by the year 2020 the cost of reducing the UK’s carbon footprint and funding renewable energy efforts will add about 33% more to the a family’s fuel bill. At the moment that means these extra charges cost the average family about £49 on gas and £59 more on electricity bills.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, told the Commons Select Committee that the Government was fully aware of the fact that when they placed levies on energy companies that eventually the costs would end up getting passed onto consumers.

In addition, the report found that those that suffer from fuel poverty were hurt more by the extra costs then the average family because all families were hit about the same by the increases. Therefore, a poor family is being forced to pay the same amount extra as anyone else which might be well outside of their budget.

Age UK and Consumer Focus have responded to the siltation by asking that social and environmental levies were instead applied based on per-unit of consumption instead of just per household indiscriminately, so that the charges would be more evenly distributed. This is also due to the fact that those in fuel poverty tend to consume much less energy than other families so they should not have to pay as much.