27 January 2022

We need change to stop fossil fuel companies profiting off the backs of society's poorest

FPA members Luke Dukinfield and Alexa Waud say we need to act collectively to change a system that leaves millions of people in fuel poverty unable to heat their homes and afford their energy bills

Millions of households in the UK are frozen in the grip of fuel poverty – unable to heat their homes and afford their energy bills. Even before the turmoil of the ongoing gas crisis, which at the end of last year saw a raft of energy suppliers go bust and fuel prices spike prohibitively, around 10,000 people a year on average die as a result of fuel poverty.

With the price cap now set to further increase by as much as 50% in the spring, an already bitter winter of cuts to Universal Credit, prospective National Insurance and VAT hikes, and inflation-constricted wages will become the perfect storm of a cost-of-living crisis. 

But we know this calamity is not inevitable. Fuel poverty is the result of deep-seated inequalities in our society, with poor, slum-like housing conditions rampant, the energy sector privatised and deregulated against the interests of workers and communities, and continued cuts to investment in energy efficiency measures and cheap renewable technologies. Over the past decade, £200 billion has been paid out to shareholders of the major fossil fuel companies, further enriching the power and profits of those most responsible for climate destruction, while the public bears the brunt of the social and economic cost. 

That is why Fuel Poverty Action is calling for a windfall tax on fossil fuel companies to invest in urgent financial relief, demanding that they do not continue to profit off the backs of the poorest in society who are already having to choose between heating and eating. We demand this immediate action be paired with mass mobilisation to retrofit homes and expand access to renewable energy. 

With our government so beholden to the will of the fossil fuel industry, we need to come together across society - as workers organising in unions, tenants fighting rigged heating systems in tower blocks, environmental activists campaigning around the climate emergency - to win this change.

That is how we can prevent millions more households being forced into the misery of fuel poverty. That is how we can transform our infrastructure and economy to serve the needs of people and the environment, rather than the greed of the wealthy few. And that is how we can ensure there is universal access to energy – enough to keep everyone healthy and warm.

There are a couple of ways PCS members can support our work and campaigns. 

If you want to join us in organising in the fight against fuel poverty and for climate action, you can sign-up for our newsletter to find out more about our work and upcoming meetings. You can follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

We have several campaigns to fight energy price rises and fight for ‘Energy For All’ (e4a). Our campaign ‘Making Green Come True’ works to close the gap between what’s promised with ‘green’ solutions and what’s delivered on retrofit and heating in reality. You will also find more information on our website.

We are a small underfunded grassroots group and in the current energy crisis could really use the support of donations. We want to thank PCS for already affiliating and supporting us. We also accept individual donations here on both a one-off and recurring basis. 

Feel free to get in touch with us fuelpovertyaction@gmail.com if you want to link up!