Whether the fuel poor are getting a fair deal and the problem of cold homes is being adequately addressed is the subject of a national conference, to be opened today (Thur 3 November) by the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil.
Organised by the national fuel poverty charity, Energy Action Scotland, the two-day event in Clydebank will examine what is being done about the three main causes of fuel poverty – energy inefficient homes, high fuel prices and low household income.
In his opening address, the Cabinet Secretary is expected to highlight the Scottish Government’s initiatives to reduce fuel poverty.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr Neil said: “As an energy rich nation, the fact that any of our citizens is facing or living in fuel poverty is a disgrace. The Scottish Government has increased its budget this year, in the face of scathing cuts from Westminster, to increase the reach of initiatives to help those in fuel poverty and also to encourage greater energy efficiency.
“Today’s conference is an excellent opportunity for organisations and individuals to come together with solutions to tackle the root causes of fuel poverty. With the onset of winter just round the corner we must do all we can to support those within our communities most in need.”
Delegates from all sectors across Scotland and the UK will hear from a range of speakers including the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the Coalition Government’s plans for a Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, due to launch next year and shortly out for consultation.
Norman Kerr, Director of Energy Action Scotland said: “With fuel prices at record levels and the number of households in fuel poverty on the increase, we have to take every step possible to make sure this unacceptable problem is dealt with once and for all.
“Discussions at the Energy Action Scotland conference will bring together those working on policy with those delivering practical solutions and, crucially, those dealing every day with people who are living in fuel poverty. Their experiences will help inform our messages to government at all levels.”
Energy Action Scotland reaction to Scottish fuel poverty figures today - 10 December 2013
EAS reaction to EDF price increase - 12 November 2013
Campaigners call for affordable energy for pensioners - 16 April 2013
Fuel poverty report card – all must try harder - 19 March 2013
Fuel Poverty Charity Welcomes Recognition of Needs of Fuel Poor - 13 March 2013
Campaigns & Issues
Pension Trends, Chapter 5: State Pensions, 2013 Edition
A larger proportion of men than of women receive the full Basic State Pension (BSP): in September 2012, 80% of male pensioners received full BSP compared with only 46% of female pensioners.
Surge in population
Britain's population could surge to 132 million over the next century thanks to growing life expectancy and high immigration, officials said this week.
People born in 25 years’ time are likely to live five years longer than those born today, according to the forecast by the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS said UK life expectancy for 2012 is 78.7 years for men and 82.4 for women – but in 25 years time this will have climbed to 84 for men and 87.3 for women.
Competitions & Fun
Win a copy of Michael Ball's new DVD - Both Sides Now Tour
Michael Ball’s first live DVD in 2 years - filmed live in concert at the Hammersmith Apollo
Includes Exclusive Bonus CD – 8-track CD Featuring hit songs from Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera… plus all his latest hits.
Both Sides Now the album has sold over 100,000 copies since launch
Michael Ball is one the UK's most loved performers. From leading the cast of Les Misérable, to singing his heart out to adoring audiences around the world, fans can treasure their favourite singer live in concert.
Win one of 31 fabulous travel treats from Silver Travel Advisor this December
Enter now and you could win one of the 31 travel treats from our Christmas Stocking.
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Tackling the challenges of dementia
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is pleased to announce that, along with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) it's awarding £20 million to six research projects which will significantly add to our understanding of dementia.
Amongst other things, the research will look at how we can better prevent dementia, and improve the quality of life of those with dementia and their carers.
Property & Finance
Retirement income needs to come from a variety of sources
After a year-long study into the consumer experience of buying an annuity, the Financial Services Consumer Panel concluded that the market does not work well for the majority of consumers and urged a review. Andy Zanelli, head of retirement planning, AXA Wealth, comments on the need to look at a variety of sources for securing income in retirement.
Leisure and Lifestyle
Robert Tanitch reviews Drawing the Line at Hampstead Theatre, London, NW3.
Pundit Nehru, Muhammad Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi, Clement Atlee and Louis Mountbatten are the key players, but it is the lesser known Judge Cyril John Radcliffe who holds centre stage in Howard Brenton’s new and absorbing play about the partitioning of India in 1947.
India is a financial burden Britain can no longer afford. Prime Minister Atlee dispatches Radcliffe to divide the sub-continent into two new sovereign dominions. Five weeks to dismantle an empire clearly isn’t long enough. The haste is indecent. But that’s all Radcliffe has.
"I'm a pensioner, get me out of here!"
Today's pensioners may not have to endure daily Bush Tucker trials to top up their shopping baskets but for almost 70% of people surveyed by the deVere Group, cost of living is the primary concern about retiring in the UK.
According the results of a recent survey of 1,231 over 50's questioned by the international financial consultancy, cost of living is the primary motivation for quitting Britain with almost half (49.5%) stating that they have 'seriously considered', 'are thinking about', or 'would be tempted' to live overseas during retirement.
Obviously as Editor you will have had many letters of thank-you's and well-done's, so please count this as one more from a convert to your excellent paper.