Campaigning for Energy for All

On Wednesday 19 October we took part in the #EnergyForAll rally and march at Westminster. The event, organised by Fuel Poverty Action, culminated in delivering a petition to Downing Street.

The #EnergyForAll petition calls for a radical overhaul of our energy pricing structure to ensure everyone’s basic necessities of heating, lighting and cooking are met. It has so far been signed by over 650,000 people. You can read more details and sign the petition here.

The rally was attended by number of different MPs along with representatives from charities and NGOs, action groups and social movements. Speakers in Old Palace Yard included Lord Prem Sikka, Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Lewis MP and Matt Lay, National Officer for Energy at Unison.

Rhi Hughes, our community engagement manager, was invited to speak in Downing Street. She said:

For the past decade South West London Law Centres has been operating within a legal advice sector that has had its funding restricted despite demand rapidly increasing and austerity devastating our communities. This is the worst it has been over that ten-year period.

In September we launched a new cost of living project – this is project work as there are no national or local government funds for this type of work. The project is already overwhelmed. We get referrals from social services, local councillors, MPs, and GP social prescribers who are seeing people so worried about how they’re going to pay their bills it’s affecting their mental and physical health. People who come to the Law Centre needing legal advice about their employment, housing or family situation are also needing crisis intervention because their energy bills are unaffordable.

We are nowhere near big enough to meet the current need. We’re doing what we can to expand but this cannot be the answer alone. Something needs to change. We need a radical new policy on how energy is funded to ensure everyone’s basic needs of heating and eating are met. We need energy for all.