WITH the average family facing an increase of £600 per annum or £12 a week in heating costs, Liberal Democrats in Torridge and West Devon have called on the Government to take immediate action to avoid a cost-of-living crisis and widespread hardship affecting local people this spring.

Stephen Middleton, chair of Torridge and West Devon Lib Dems, said:

‘Fuel prices are soaring, and we hear that the Government is to raise the energy price cap by as much as 51%. The effect on householders will be grim. Our Executive Committee has passed a motion calling for immediate action, such as removing VAT on fuel costs, to hold down heating costs for hard-working families, pensioners and everyone who is feeling the pinch after ten years of Tory government. We also think there should be a windfall tax on energy ‘fat cats’ like BP who have boasted of massive profits while millions struggle to heat their homes. We support Sir Ed Davey 100% on his proposals in this area.’

Lib Dem Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin (Great Torrington) said: “Looking forward, we need a massive programme of investment in home insulation so that we can reduce energy consumption. This is especially important round here where many of us live in old, draughty houses which eat up gas and electricity. It is very difficult to get grants for insulation currently. We are told to come back and try again next financial year. That’s not good enough. 

“Alongside that, we need to step up investment in green energy. Despite some warm words, the Government has been dragging its feet on this. The Lib Dems are calling for an eight-year rolling programme of investment in non-carbon energy sources so that Britain becomes a leader in sustainable energy by 2030, and British families are no longer reliant on oil and gas.”