Cost-of-living crisis hits Ceredigion communities hard

Although there are many things to cheer now – the success of the Welsh football team, the revival of agricultural shows, small eisteddfodau and local events across the county following Covid, and the National Eisteddfod visiting Ceredigion in August – the current cost of living crisis is casting its shadow over society.

Unfortunately, the impact of the increase in energy and fuel bills is having a huge impact across Wales and particularly so in rural areas such as Ceredigion. Reports suggest that as many as 45% of households in Wales may be in fuel poverty following the latest increase in the energy price cap.

Higher fuel prices are also threatening the rural economy. We sometimes forget that rising petrol and diesel prices are having a serious impact on public services. When those fares increase, it becomes more difficult to maintain rural bus routes and school transport services. Perhaps more worryingly, critical workers, such as social carers, find it difficult to afford to work. Over the past few weeks, I have argued in Parliament that it would be possible to get some short-term relief to this dire situation through the rural fuel tax relief scheme, by extending the scheme (already in force in rural areas of England and Scotland) to Wales.

As chair of the cross-party parliamentary group on fuel poverty, I have also been urging the Westminster Government to consider 'National Energy Action' proposals on introducing a new social tariff to help the most vulnerable customers. Such a proposal should go hand in hand with efforts to promote existing schemes such as the Discretionary Assistance Fund and the winter fuel payment to all low-income households. All of this would address the short-term pressures arising from higher energy prices.

A long-term solution would be a significant increase in funding for energy efficiency measures. In particular, the Westminster Government should introduce ECO4 legislation (the energy company obligation) without delay to ensure that insulation measures are installed for the poorest homes as soon as possible.

Quite simply, families and households across Ceredigion need the Westminster Government to do more to tackle the current cost of living crisis – both in the short and long term.

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  • Carys Lloyd
    published this page in News 2022-06-24 12:11:44 +0100

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