Hywel Williams MP

MOST people think of Parliament as the House of Commons, or perhaps the House of Lords...

If they think of us at all - parliamentarians tend to have an unreal idea of their place in the public eye.

If they think of the Commons, naturally it’s the main chamber at Prime Minister’s Questions or some such set piece occasion.

But most of the work we do is in committees, either select committees (I’m on the Science and Technology Committee) or bill committees, on particular pieces of law.

The least attention is given to backbench debates in the second chamber, Westmister Hall.

However, that’s where I spent Tuesday morning in a really worthwhile debate on off-grid gas (LPG).

Members from five parties spoke, from all parts of the UK, and I spoke for Plaid Cymru.
We said LPG is very expensive - twice the price of mains gas - and that supply is not always secure.

Tariffs are complicated and people find it difficult to change suppliers.

Problems are worse in rural areas where fuel poverty is common already.

We all said we wanted the Winter Fuel Payment to be paid to older and disabled people in September, when prices are lowest and the best deals are to be had.

The minister took no notice - he is new to the job.

But that is no excuse for not answering points from the debate.

We’ll carry on chipping away.

As for the minister, his predecessor lasted six months.

Let’s see if he beats that record.

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