17 March 2010
Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on the Government to end fuel poverty, and has today joined forces with a number of other campaigning organisations to demand Government action1.
One in five cancer patients undergoing treatment is living in fuel poverty2 and as a result, paying fuel bills is one of the biggest worries for cancer patients in need3. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition is urging the Government to fix fuel poverty and help those most in need.
Mike Hobday, Head of Campaigns at Macmillan Cancer Support says:
'People tell us they feel colder due to the effects of cancer treatment, they turn the heating up and then receive higher fuel bills, often when their household income has dropped because they cannot work. Fuel poverty is a huge strain; financially, physically and emotionally so we’re pleased to be part of this coalition to bring about change.'
Macmillan wants the Government to:
extend the Winter Fuel Payment to cancer patients in need and the terminally ill
recognise cancer patients as a group that should have full access to the new mandatory social support that energy companies will have to offer by 2011.
Alison, 44, Avon, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She says:
'It’s frustrating. I’m at home a lot because I’m too ill to work full time and I’m struggling to pay the fuel bills. I have to shiver rather than put the heating on for more than two hours a day.
'During my chemotherapy treatment I had to take lots of baths and keep clothes really clean so I didn’t get infections, but I worried all the time about the energy costs.'
Sadly, Alison is far from being alone so support Macmillan’s campaign to freeze out fuel poverty for cancer patients by signing the pledge at www.macmillan.org.uk/fuelpoverty
Anyone struggling with their fuel bills can get hold of a free fuel poverty fact sheet by calling 0808 808 00 00 or visiting www.macmillan.org.uk/fuelpoverty
***CASE STUDIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST***
For further information, please contact:
Helen Champion - Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4689 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
1 An embargoed copy of the charter is available. The charter is being launched on the afternoon of Wednesday 17 March at the House of Commons Terrace.
2 9.6% of the general (non vulnerable) population are in fuel poverty, Department of Energy and Climate Change fuel poverty statistics, 2009. 20% of cancer patients in active treatment are in fuel poverty, Macmillan Cancer Support Online survey of 974 people with cancer, May 2009.
3 Macmillan defines cancer patients in need as those undergoing treatment in the past year, who are terminally ill, or in receipt of Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefit.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer. We provide practical, medical, emotional and financial support and push for better cancer care.
The End Fuel Poverty Coalition
The coalition members include: Age Concern and Help the Aged, the Association for the Conservation of Energy, the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Child Poverty Action Group, Consumer Focus, Disability Alliance, Federation for Private Residents' Association, Friends of the Earth, Macmillan Cancer Support, National Childbirth Trust, National Energy Action, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, National Pensioners Convention, National Right to Fuel Campaign and Unison.