East Lothian Courier – 27 April 2023


The weather’s improving and lengthening days mean lights and heating can be turned down. But for many they’ve hardly been on and for some not at all. The energy crisis remains and challenges abound.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme that saw vouchers issued to those on Alternative Fuels has seen a disproportionate failure in the take up rate here in the county. Nationally as of February 25% of vouchers hadn’t been redeemed, but in East Lothian it was 1 in 3. I’d urge all those eligible to check and if they’ve not received theirs or have misplaced it then get advice. It’s their right and many missing out will badly require it.

The scheme doesn’t end until June and hopefully pick up will improve. But it’s also disappointing that the UK Government will not be handing over funds not taken up to fuel poverty challenges. Why not? The funds were to address an urgent need and that remains. Providing the funds not claimed to organizations seeking to help the most vulnerable would allow for continued help.

But its not just fuel but food costs which are worrying. The price of food has rocketed, and folk are going hungry, as well as cold. Foodbank use is now shamefully high. Similarly, as the price has risen the size has shrunk. The Mars Bar of my childhood’s now but a slither and the size of a box of cereal a fraction of what once was.

We were told Brexit would mean cheaper food. Instead, it’s rocketed, and the only cheap imports are to be from the likes of Australia and India, which threaten our framers and even our health. What lies we were spun. But why do Labour and Tory both persist with supporting what has clearly failed.

We don’t need to rejoin the EU, but we should at least be in the single market allowing ease of access for goods in and out. Until that happens, we’re all going to get poorer and pay more for essentials. Labour simply mirroring the Tories or even trying to outdo them is no change at all.