Mike Weir encouraged by off grid discussions

ANGUS MP Mike Weir has been encouraged by a meeting to discuss problems faced by off gas grid energy consumers.

Mr Weir attended a Ministerial Round Table on the issue, with the event bringing together ministers from four UK government departments, with representatives of the industry and consumer groups.

Mr Weir, who has campaigned on issues around off grid, consumers for many years, said he was encouraged by the meeting. He commented: “For far too long UK governments, both Labour and Tory, have failed to take action to help those energy consumers off the mains gas grid. The issue always seemed to be parked in the “too difficult” pile.

“This meeting was a step in the right direction bringing together representatives from across government, industry and other groups to examine the issues.

“I was particularly pleased that following years in which I have campaigned on the issue of early winter fuel pay,ends for off gas grid pensioners, including bringing forward a private members bill, the Department of Work and Pensions appear to be softening their opposition to the idea.

“They have indicated that they are now prepared to look seriously at the issue and see whether a scheme, or something similar, can be brought forward. This is in marked contrast to their previous absolute dismissal of the idea.

“Although my private members bill has now run out of time, I have lodged an amendment to the report stage of the Energy Bill which seeks to incorporate its provisions. I will continue to press on this issue and hope, now that hey have begun to move, the UK government will accept that this is a very low cost way of giving real help to pensioners in a difficult situation.”

Mr Weir added that consumer and local groups around the country also brought forward some interesting ideas on other practical measures to assist those off gas grid and he would be pursuing those further.