March newsletter

Meeting of February 19th

Before our main speaker, Pamela Moffatt told us about the Haringey Forum for Older People (HFOP) for which she is chair.  Several HPAG members are active in HFOP but Pamela sought more members.

Clare and Eeva spoke to us from Fuel Poverty Action Group. We have a copy of her presentation. Ask if you want the notes.

This group campaigns for a sustainable and affordable system for providing fuel. See their website www.fuelpovertyaction.org.uk.

Of the 2012 10,000 excess winter deaths one third are attributed to fuel poverty, most being over 65. The winter in 2012 was cold but there were fewer excess deaths in colder countries.

Prepayment Meters are 9% more expensive than normal billing; the Citizens Advice Bureau did a survey of prepayment meter users. Responses indicated that:

  • They were often fitted without consent when a customer had defaulted on a bill,
  • 77% of households reliant on benefit income spent more than 10% of their income on gas & electricity in colder times.
  • The exacerbation of Arthritis & rheumatism is linked to cold housing. These conditions were prevalent in those surveyed.
  • Of Prepayment meter users 75% said they found it difficult to pay for gas/electricity & 64% said they found it difficult to pay for food

The Big Six energy companies made £3.7 billion retail profit in 2012 yet average fuel bills have gone up from £800 to £1,281 per year. High energy costs arise from: the rising price of gas, ‘green levies’ (this money funds insulation, renewables etc.), retail profits of around £50-£100 per household, and payouts to shareholders.

What can we do? Insulation of our homes could save £400 per year, yet this is not a priority for new building contracts. The use of ‘Fracking’ will not bring down bills, but there are some local schemes where people cooperate, such as the Solar Project on an estate in Newport & the Wales & the Brixton Energy Coop. In both projects new technology such as photo-voltaic panels have produced savings – both carbon emissions and energy costs. There have been initiatives abroad, such as the city of Hamburg recently buying back the grid from a private company after a referendum; in the USA an Electrical Workers Union refuses to cut off customers.

Advice sheets were handed out; ask for copies or refer to their website. Those on pension credit, or at risk of fuel poverty, may be able to get the Warm Homes Discount which is currently £135 a year for each fuel (going up to £140 in April 2014.)  Pensioners qualifying are given this automatically, but you may need to need to apply for it.  Be sure to tell them any information that makes you vulnerable. Find more information on entitlements on the Turn2Us benefit calculator: http://www.turn2us.org.uk/information__resources/managing_money/fuel_poverty.aspx or call 0808 802 2000. Age UK may offer free & simple insulation- call up your local centre

Another way we can help is by joining Fuel Poverty Action demonstrations that aim to publicise the problems and influence decisions makers. Older people can act out graphically the plight of the ‘fuel poor’.

Over the social tea-time, more questions were asked.

Notices included feed-back on a busy month, Dignity Action Day and the Care.Data for GP patient health records.

 

Our membership secretary reminds you that 2014 subscriptions are due. (£5 or £7.50 couple) Cheques should be made out to Hornsey Pensioners’ Action Group. Please post to Mrs Pamela Jefferys,  Flat 38, Bishops View Court, 24a Church   Crescent, N10 3NQ, or pay at the next meeting.

Activities reports

Post Office franchise: East Finchley Crown Post Office is to be franchised to Universal Office Equipment (U.K.) Ltd. Because of objections about disabled access, the Public Consultation  has been re-launched from Tuesday, 11th February until Tuesday, 11th March. There is just time to oppose the franchise.

Emergency welfare: Clive has had a reply informing us of the Haringey provision for house-bound people in any emergency such as prolonged power-cuts.

W7 and 144 bus stops: Sylvia has had a reply from Joanne McCartney (GLA member). Transport for London reject having the 144 share the W7 bus stop at Muswell Hill roundabout. Do we accept this?

The next Area Forum and Area Committee meeting for Alexandra, Fortis Green, Highgate and Muswell Hill is on Wednesday 12 March at The Londesborough Room, Alexandra Palace (Palm Court entrance), Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY starting at 6.30pm.

[Specific items for discussion are: – Traffic/Pedestrian Crossing Issues: Colney   Hatch Lane junctions with Alexandra Park Road and Pages Lane and Alexandra Palace: Update on activities and regeneration proposals for the Palace.]

The Report a Problem’ surgery from 6.00pm to 6.30pm will be attended by officers from the Council’s Frontline services and the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team will be in attendance.

Library Review: several members have taken part in focus groups organised by the consultant ‘Activist’. There is still time to have your say on how you think library services should develop in Haringey.

Contact Zoe Robertson, Haringey Council, River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ Tel. 020 8489 2223  zoe.robertson@haringey.gov.uk

Assisted travel as in the February notice

Pamela Moffatt advises us that she would be sorry to lose Capital Call as it enables her to travel outside the North London region which Dial-a-Ride does not. But the £200 per year worth of trips allowed does not go far and could be said to be a limiting factor in its usefulness. Capital Call was always seen as being in the gift of the Mayor, hence this consultation. Pamela will write to oppose closing it. Write before April 11th. See https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/assisted-transport/capital-call

Ann attended Hornsey Connect on Feb 26th, organised as part of the Neighbourhoods Connect, a pilot project funded by Haringey Council and Haringey CCG to address issues of loneliness and social isolation.

Lauritz investigated the availability of non-medical footcare (toe-nail cutting) free at 5 day centres and for £10 at the Laurels, St Ann’s Road.

Social Lunches – 50+ Community Lunch Club’. Hornsey Vale Community Association, Mayfield Rd, N8. Home made lunch & activities £3 on 1st weds of month. Volunteers welcomed. Also at Jacksons   Lane on last Thursday of each month from 11.45am-2.30pm at Jacksons   Lane.  There is often entertainment.  Contact stuart@jacksonslane.org.uk or call 020 8347 2411.

Hornsey & Crouch End 21st century homes: A weekend event – conference and exhibition Saturday 15 March, 1.30pm – 5pm at HornseyMoravianChurch, priory Road N8 7HR. Muswell Hill Sustainability Group. Sunday house tours (book online)