Gloria writes a weekly column for the Ashfield Chad. Here is her column from 15th February 2017:
Keeping warm during a long, cold winter should be the least we can expect in 21st century Britain.
But over 4 million UK households struggle with the costs of heating their homes, leading to the creation of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day this Friday.
A fuel poor household is defined as one which needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on all fuel use and to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth.
In Ashfield, 4,212 households (9.5 per cent) live in fuel poverty.
The cost of fuel poverty is higher than simply meaning that people live in cold homes.
It has cumulative effects which at their worst mean that people become ill and die unnecessarily.
Labour has long committed to ending fuel poverty but this Government is doing little to stop it.
People need energy efficient homes with good insulation but incentive schemes to install new boilers or insulate your home have been scrapped.
It is time for a new approach to energy efficiency which invests in warm and decent homes as an infrastructure priority.
And that is why we need a long-term solution to bring down energy bills, tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.
Winter fuel payments, introduced by the last Labour Government, are one of the measures that help older people keep the heating on.
I was so pleased to help an elderly couple from Sutton recently when they were having problems and hadn’t received their payment.
A quick letter to the Department for Work and Pensions and they soon received the £300 they were entitled to.
I hope they are both keeping warm and well now.
I am passionate about everybody having the same opportunities to achieve in life, which is why I am delighted to be hosting a Disability Confident awareness event at Portland College on February 24, from 1pm-3pm.
The purpose of this event is to address misconceptions about disabled people in the work place and highlight the benefits of hiring them.
The event is being held in conjunction with the Department for Work and Pensions and local organisations will be on hand to give companies advice on retention of disabled staff and the support provision available.
Employers can book a place at the event by e-mailing DCNORTH.NOTTS@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK.
Organisers are hoping to get as many local employers as possible signed up to the Disability Confident scheme so that more disabled people can find the jobs they want.
I encourage local businesses to find out more about employing people with disabilities by coming along.