DevComms senior account manager, Matt Human, looks at what the region’s MPs have been focusing on in February.
It was all things Energy this month for the region’s MPs, which is no surprise given the ongoing cost of living crisis. Members have been interested in Ofgem’s recent agreement with suppliers to suspend forced installations of prepayment meters and remote switching of smart meters to prepayment mode until the end of the March.
Speaking in the Commons, Brent Central MP, Dawn Butler challenged the Government on this issue and said that they ‘need to force them’ to do the right thing rather than relying on them to act on their own accord.
Alongside the Government providing compensation, Ms Butler also asked whether there are plans to remove prepayment meters from vulnerable households, will they make prepayment meters cheaper per unit of energy and when the Government will ensure that energy companies aren’t switching people’s smart meters remotely.
Further criticism of the Government’s approach on this issue was seen from Feltham and Heston MP, Seema Malhotra. She highlighted that prepayment customers are charged with a higher rate and urged the Government ‘to step up and act further and faster’.
In Brentford and Isleworth, Ruth Cadbury had a busy month in the Commons. She also spoke about the cost of living and the need for homes in the UK to be better insulated.
Renewable energy and the climate crisis were also a big focus for Ms Cadbury. She raised the importance of MP’s responsibility to act and reported the current Government’s failings in sufficiently dealing with the crisis.
She explained that ‘over the past decade of Conservative rule, we have seen an approach to the climate crisis that has too often put the need for short term political gain ahead of the needs of our planet’. EV charging was also a topic of conversation and the London Mayor’s ambition to cut emissions and move to net zero in the country’s capital. She closed out her remarks last month by highlighting and praising the action that a Labour Government would take to tackle the crisis if elected.
Turning now to Feltham and Heston, Labour’s Seema Malhotra shared her opinion on the proposed Electricity Transmission (Compensation) Bill which is currently going through Parliament. She spoke about the relevance of the energy crisis to the Bill and ‘revolutionising the country’s electricity infrastructure for the long-term prosperity of all our communities’ as well as its role in making Britain ‘a clean energy superpower by 2030’.
Whilst she noted that the Bill had positive intentions, she questioned whether it should be brought forward in the way that it is currently. With a further Labour MP criticising the Government’s approach to getting to grips with energy and climate crisis.
Brent North MP, Barry Gardiner had an active February speaking to the Commons on the issues around leasehold properties which he notes accounts for more than 90% of properties sold in his constituency. He spoke about the significant issues around the increase in management and service charges and the impact on leaseholders.
He also mentioned the difficulties that residents are facing with living in buildings that are not compliant with necessary fire safety regulations. Mr Gardiner asked the Government, where the responsibility lies, with the MP of that view that it is with the developer itself.
Fleur Anderson, the MP for Putney also spoke on the issue this month noting that the national cladding scandal ‘is just not going fast or fast enough’, with years of campaigning taking place including from the Putney MP herself.
In Twickenham, Munira Wilson MP reported that she had received cases of flat blocks in which managing agents have wrongly commissioned fire safety assessments for buildings under 18 metres. This has reportedly resulted in residents potentially being charged up to £800,000 and not being able to sell their home.
In other news, the impending ULEZ expansion was also picked up by some of the MPs in the region. Bob Blackman of Harrow East criticised the proposal for outer London local authorities to opt to have cameras and signage in their boroughs for the ULEZ calling the London Mayor, ‘dictator Khan’.
David Simmonds MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner asked the question to the Commons on whether delivering more environmentally friendly transport should be more of a priority in London than imposing ULEZ.
Separately, Mr Simmonds MP also raised to his colleagues last month the benefits green spaces provide in local areas and asked what progress has been made on devolving power to local communities in helping authorities to create high-quality green spaces.
© London West (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).
Sign up to receive our weekly free journal, The Forum here.