Families facing a stark choice

The arrival of winter marched on at the weekend as the clocks went back heralding the long dark nights for five months.

Around the same time the first big storm of the winter mercifully passed the north east by, but the drop in temperature will be a worrying sign for many concerned at how they are going to stay warm because of rising electricity and gas prices.

In the past few days all the major energy companies have announced significant price rises, with agencies warning that the elderly and vulnerable will be faced with a stark choice – ‘Do I eat or do I keep my home warm!’

At the time of writing this column, the bosses of the six leading energy companies were meeting fellow MPs who sit on the energy and climate change committee to explain themselves over price rises averaging over nine per cent.

The debate I am sure will, if you pardon the pun, be heated, which I know will be of little consolation to those struggling to afford to heat their homes. It is a situation the government must get a grasp on to help families.

Many will recall that during the recent party conference season, Ed Miliband pledged to freeze prices for 20 months if he moves into 10 Downing Street after the 2015 general election.

His announcement was met with some criticism and scepticism, but I am sure was welcomed by the six million in so-called fuel poverty where they are spending a disproportionate amount of their incomes on gas and electricity.

I am sure they will all be watching reports of the outcome of the Parliamentary meeting with the energy chiefs.