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Press Release 10th February 2009

Banks or Pensioners who would you bail out?

UK 8020, a not for profit and social enterprise supported by the likes of Madonna and world famous inventor Trevor Baylis OBE, says immediate financial intervention by the government is needed otherwise pensioner death tolls will rise to 40,000 by the end of the winter.

The National Audit Office’s extensive report on the government’s Warm Front Scheme has highlighted the failure to correctly identify 57% of vulnerable households in fuel poverty that were eligible for the scheme.

The Warm Front Scheme was set up to provide grants for energy efficiency measures helping the most at risk to cut their energy bills but instead of helping those in fuel poverty £34 million was wasted on homes already energy efficient.

Robert Lee, social entrepreneur and founder of UK 8020 says, “Now is the time for the government to intervene, identify the pensioners most at risk, link up with the Energy companies and pay their energy bills.”

He continues, “This announcement has to be made immediately to prevent needless worry and anxiety from pensioners wondering how they will pay their energy bill. We have bailed out the banks that totally mismanaged their businesses yet when it comes to pensioners we let them die because they cannot afford to heat their home adequately. These are the same people who worked hard to re-build this country after the war. It’s an utter disgrace and we should feel ashamed if we stand back and let this happen!”

Although UK 8020 acknowledges this is a short term solution it has been working towards a long term solution. Their Climate Change Challenge and Pledge4REG for initiatives encourage the development of sources of renewable energy. Prize money of £100,000 and a place in the history books are offered to the first person who could invent a renewable energy generator (REG) that would provide 90% of the domestic electricity needs for free. As part of the rules, the target retail price for the unit with installation was £500. The second campaign, Pledge4REG, is being used to gather public support for renewable energy generators, and to acknowledge that fuel poverty could be eradicated through micro generation.

With the worst winter for over a decade and the recent cold snap that has sent the UK into chaos, domestic energy bills will rise inevitably as everyone tries to keep warm. On top of the massive 50% hike in energy prices in 2008 bills will be at an all time high in 2009.

Robert says: "Literally giving back the power to the people is the only answer to beating rising fuel prices and eradicating fuel poverty. It will empower people not only to generate their own electricity but to be fuel efficient too.”

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Notes for editors:
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1. The National Audit Office’s report can be found at:

2. The Government’s Warm Front Scheme can be found at:

3. UK 8020 CIC is a registered not for profit Community Interest Company