New figures showing that an estimated 2,300 children in the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency live in a household in energy debt have sparked calls for the Government to do more to help.
Cat Smith, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said she wanted to see the criteria governing eligibility for help in the shape of a £140 cut in energy bills extended to include families with children.
She is supporting a campaign by The Children’s Society, calling for government guidance to Ofgem and energy companies to be changed.
The national child poverty charity has produced figures showing that around 1,300 families in Lancaster and Fleetwood are behind on their energy bills – affecting 2,300 children.
Ms Smith, who has written to secretary of state Ed Davey to call for help to be extended to families with children, said: “No family should ever have to choose between heating and eating but that is exactly what is happening here in Lancaster and Fleetwood – as well as in communities all over the country.
“Vulnerably families have been hit hard by the Conservative-led government which has failed to tackle the Cost of Living crisis while at the same time implementing unfair policies like the Bedroom Tax and giving tax cuts to millionaires.
“Debts can lead to desperate measures including people turning to food banks and even loan sharks, not to mention causing problems with anxiety and depression.
“This can only make it more difficult for families to give their children the best possible start in life and we owe it to our future generations to provide help where it is needed most.”
Research by The Children’s Society in its recent Show Some Warmth report showed that there are more than 800,000 children living in families in energy debt across the UK.
But currently, only those families with disabled children and children under the age of five qualify for the discount.
See link to The Children’s Society report here http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/resources-and-publications/show-some-warmth-full-report