Kirkcaldy Alba MP calls on Fife Council to help mitigate 'impending humanitarian crisis' this winter

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Kirkcaldy MP Neale Hanvey has made an impassioned appeal to Fife Council’s leader for action to mitigate what he calls an ‘impending humanitarian crisis’ this winter.

In his letter to Labour leader Councillor David Ross, Mr Hanvey refers to Ofgem’s announcement last week of a hike in energy costs from £1971 to £3549 per annum, noting furhter increases expected in the spring which could see this increase to well over £6000 for an average household.

The Alba party politician is asking what preparations Fife Council are making to address the challenge.

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Mr Hanvey said: “These energy costs sit alongside escalating food costs, stagnant wages and a predicted increase of interest rates of around four per cent in the new year.

Neale Hanvey, Kirkcaldy MP has written to the leader of Fife CouncilNeale Hanvey, Kirkcaldy MP has written to the leader of Fife Council
Neale Hanvey, Kirkcaldy MP has written to the leader of Fife Council

"Citizen’s Advice Scotland have already warned that there is a significant risk people in my constituency and beyond run the risk of starvation or freezing to death this winter.

"The average cost of heating a home already outstrips available funds in many households.

"Alongside inflation, interest rates are rising with online enquiries from folk struggling to pay their mortgage, rising by up to 1627 per cent between June 2021 and June 2022.

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"On top of this it is a growing concern that many people who donated regularly to foodbanks are now themselves under growing financial strain, and foodbank demand is far outstripping the available resource.

“Locally Kirkcaldy Foodbank are struggling to provide food parcels as shopping costs have risen beyond £20,000 per month.

“This is completely unsustainable.”

The local MP is calling on the council leader to consider actions including the establishment of ‘heat banks’ in community centres or vacant town centre properties to provide access to a warm environment without cost and to ensure warm nutritious food is made available at such centres; begin discussions with Fife Voluntary Action and other organisations to re-establish the Helping Hands initiative that was so successful during the pandemic; petition the Scottish and UK governments for an urgent funding stream to support these and associated initiatives that may be considered; and to establish a Fife wide taskforce to monitor ‘on the ground' challenges to health, wellbeing, public health and levels of poverty.

Mr Hanvey added: “It is not hyperbole to say we face a humanitarian crisis this winter the likes of which we have never seen.

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"We urgently need a joined-up approach to meeting this urgent challenge.

"It may be 2022, but for many it feels like 1822 this year as poverty and deprivation soar in energy rich Scotland.

"It’s beyond disgraceful, it’s approaching a criminal act of state negligence.”

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