09:00 Tuesday 03 December 2013

Prospective MP walks in protest at fuel crisis

Written byJOANNA CRAIG

LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Uttoxeter walked the length of the constituency to raise awareness about winter fuel poverty.

Jon Wheale joined volunteers who marched approximately 40 miles across East Staffordshire collecting petition signatures.

The team met families across the borough who were concerned about the rise in energy prices to rally support for their petition and raise awareness of the campaign.

The Labour hopeful launched a major campaign last month calling on the Conservative-led government to implement an energy price freeze to help families across East Staffordshire.

At the heart of Mr Wheale’s 2015 electoral campaign will be lower energy prices and action for those suffering from fuel poverty.

Mr Wheale said: “Fuel prices and fuel poverty is affecting people right across the constituency, whether they affect you directly, or a loved one.

“That’s why I thought I should take a walk across the constituency with Labour’s petition calling for energy bills to be frozen.

“This is a call to put people before profits.

“It was an early start on Saturday and we walked nearly 40 miles through the villages, Uttoxeter and Burton.

“We met some great people along the way.

“We all had sore feet but worth it because local people matter.

“Everyone should have a fairer, warmer winter.

“Why I am campaigning for an energy price freeze is very much why I’m standing for election as a parliamentary candidate in 2015.

“It’s because I believe passionately that people should come before profits.”

The team passed through Ellastone, Rocester, Uttoxeter, Marchington and Draycott-in-the-Clay during their mammoth journey to gather support and signatures.

When questioned on green energy, Mr Wheale added: “There are no easy answers on the environment but that’s why more than ever we need a competent government, one which listens to the concerns of local people and acts in our best interests for today and the future.

“As the temperature drops in Burton and Uttoxeter, more and more people are facing a bleak winter thanks to spiralling energy costs.

“More than 20 per cent of residents in East Staffordshire are classed as suffering from fuel poverty.

“The energy market isn’t working for ordinary families and businesses.

“Bills continue to go up even when wholesale energy prices go down.

“We need a government which will stand up for consumers against the shameless price rises of the big six energy companies.

“That’s why I’m campaigning in support of Ed Miliband’s plan to freeze energy prices until 2017.

“Labour would reset the energy market and create a tough, new regulator to ensure consumers get a fair deal.”

Those interested in signing the petition can do so online at www.abour.org.uk/energy-petition

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