THURROCK MP, JACKIE Doyle-Price rose on the floor of the house to participate in the debate on winter fuel payments.
Ms Doyle Price said:
“It is a great pleasure to follow Dr McCrea. The speeches of Members on the Opposition Benches have been characterised by a great passion on behalf of their constituents about the issue of fuel poverty.
Everybody in this House is concerned about that issue and we have all had to deal with constituents who are finding life a struggle. The opportunity to debate our concern for the vulnerable this afternoon is an example of Parliament at its best, because such issues are why we are all in this place and why we attempt to do our best. It is important that Government Members think about what we are doing for pensioners and how far we are supporting them in dealing with the ever-increasing burden of fuel prices.
I assure Members of the Opposition parties that if the measures that the Government are putting in place were less than adequate, I would be the first in line to criticise them. However, if we look just through the prism of the winter fuel payment, we do not see the whole story.
We need to look at the wider support that we are giving to pensioners through pension reform and other benefits.
I am satisfied that what the Government are putting in place is appropriate to support our pensioners. As I said, we need to consider the wider support that we are giving pensioners to deal with fuel bills, the other benefits that we are giving pensioners and the pension reforms.
We also need to consider the quality of the housing stock, which has been raised a number of times in this debate. We need to think about what can be done to reduce bills, because then we would not have to give so much support to cover energy prices. At the moment, a lot of energy is used to heat the air above people’s houses.