Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Result On NEA Support For Rick

NEA’s Support For A Man’s Courage

The leading fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA) is supporting Rick Costello’s campaign to get the winter fuel allowance extended to those that suffer from long-term or terminal illness, regardless of their age.

The £200 household allowance is currently only available to people who are aged 60 years or over.

Last year the charity campaigned alongside Child Poverty Action Group, End Child Poverty, the Disability Alliance, Help the Aged and Age Concern, Citizens Advice, and energywatch, to call for more support to help the sick, elderly and vulnerable by extending the winter fuel allowance.

Rick Costella (name changed to hide identity) is suffering from terminal cancer and only has months to live. The chemotherapy that had been previously used to attempt to fight the cancer has been aborted, as it is no longer working.

He said: “Chemo makes you feel cold so in the winter I have the heating on full.

"In the 65th anniversary of the Welfare State, there is something wrong when we have thousands of families receiving no support."

He has spoken to MPs and councillors to push for the allowance to be extended to terminally ill people. Many of these will need their heating on full constantly as they suffer from cold more readily.

He added: “Terminally ill people face a loss of income. The patient and also their partners who become carers then face a minefield of benefit forms. There should be more support.”

Energy is fast becoming one of the most expensive facets of a household budget with domestic energy bills having risen by roughly 90% for gas and 60% for electricity since 2003. Many households are now having to pay in excess of £1000 to keep their home adequately heated. Sick, disabled and vulnerable people will suffer most having to have their heat on more frequently.

NEA Chief Executive William Gillis said: “We have been calling for the extension of the winter fuel allowance for months now. Rick’s plight is just one example of how the system does not seem to support the most needy. We support his action and admire his extreme bravery in taking on this battle with only months to live.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. NEA is the leading fuel poverty charity campaigning for affordable warmth in the homes of vulnerable people. Visit www.nea.org.uk
  2. Fuel poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort.
  3. A 1% rise in energy prices forces 40,000 households into fuel poverty.
Well done NEA - Make Good Choices! With special thanks to Jenny Saunders of the NEA for taking this forward with Nick Palmer MP - I truly hope your meeting bears fruit soon for Rick.

From Your Friend The Energy Angel


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