For millions of people finding money for fuel bills is more of a crisis than ever, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. More energy is needed when people are stuck at home, while many incomes are reaching rock bottom and debts are mounting up. People are rationing not only heat and electricity but food. Many have found that their grocery bills have increased. One in five families with children have been going hungry in this wealthy country — and in poorer parts of the world, famines are underway. Heat, power, and food are essentials for health — as is good housing. Not accidentally, the poorest communities, and particularly people of colour, are facing the highest death toll, along with older people, especially in the undervalued, under-resourced, underbelly of care, UK “care homes”.
This is the horror now being confronted by a groundswell of grassroots people andnetworks, organising to support our own families and communities and to demandfrom the government, from politicians, and from businesses, a total reversal ofpriorities. Health must come first, and an economy that prioritises the market hasbeen shown not to deliver on health. Brutal realities that have long been clear to millions who are fighting over fuel bills, housing, heating, food and inadequateincomes, are now public for the world to see. So is the money that can clearly befound when wanted, for instance for furlough and huge sums to keep businesses afloat. What seemed impossible has proved to be both do-able and essential.
At this moment of clarity, and with so many people and organisations coming together, we have a chance to move away from the deadly energy markets andhousing provision that kill 10,000 people a year in cold homes and leave many others with no home at all. And at the same time, as the clock nears midnight, we may havea chance to avert the worst of a climate apocalypse.
Read the full report below, or download the PDF here.Fuel Poverty Action Annual Report 2020