Bethnal Green South Labour Cllr Sirajul Islam expresses his concerns over fuel poverty


- Credit: Archant

Just one look outside will show that December, and with it winter, has well and truly arrived. Whilst many people will be celebrating the build-up to Christmas and the end of the year, for others December can be one of the cruellest months.

With temperatures dropping rapidly we are under no illusion that once again winter will bring hardship for many families in our part of East London. Earlier this year the Government estimated that 3,575 families in Tower Hamlets alone would be pushed into ‘fuel poverty’ this winter. To make things worse these figures were put together long before the energy companies chose to hike their prices by 10% last month. This means even more of our neighbours and friends will have fallen victim to the latest price hikes.

Fuel poverty is one of those soulless technical terms Government likes to use but the impact on families who fall into fuel poverty is anything but. A family is considered to be in fuel poverty if, after bills, they are left with less money than the Government thinks you need to live on. For once the political soundbite is 100% right, this year for many the choice will be between heating or eating. In our modern country the fact that this choice exists for so many should be a great source of national shame.

Another great concern which will also be affected by the longer nights is the levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in our borough. Since the last set of elections in 2010 crime has jumped in Tower Hamlets yet in other East London boroughs it is down by up to 10%. As the nights get longer people will be increasingly worried about the impact of crime and anti-social behaviour. Labour councillors have been speaking with local people over the last month about what changes they want to see to help combat local ASB issues.

A great example is the new lights in Wapping Woods which were arranged by Wapping Councillor Denise Jones after a number of attacks in the area. The lights have made the area feel significantly safer. Sometimes it is the small things like this which can make a world of difference. If you have suggestions for dealing with crime and ASB issues in your area you can complete our crime survey at: