During the recent Arctic weather conditions, a survey* was carried out in the Westcountry which showed that almost half of people aged 50 years and older were worried about paying their winter fuel bills.

Little wonder, when the temperature has averaged just 6.9 degrees and in places has been as low as -10 degrees.

The costs of heating a home during winter can add further worry to those who are already financially strained and in too many cases it leaves people facing an agonising choice of keeping warm or cooking their meals.

This 'heat of eat' dilemma facing pensioners in particular is a modern disgrace and one which no Government should allow to happen.

Another survey** found that families with disabled children were going without basic food and heating because of the high prices.

Almost a half of families with children who are disabled had resorted to borrowing money from friends and relatives, with many of them using the cash to pay their fuel bills.

I have been campaigning on this subject for many, many months, as I have heard real tales of hardship and tragedy from people who come to my weekly surgeries in Taunton, Wellington, and Wiveliscombe.

While Gordon Brown is mortgaging our future to save his own, the Conservatives want actions which will benefit the most hard-pressed and vulnerable people in our communities.

Conservatives want to see measures which will help to cut fuel bills, such as the introduction of smart meters, feed-in tariffs which unlock the potential of micro-generation by allowing people to sell electricity back to the National Grid, and changes to the Post Office Card Account to allow families without access to bank accounts to benefit from the lower energy and water tariffs offered to customers paying by direct debit.

We have to rethink the way we supply and consume energy in Britain, and we need to safeguard supplies, cut consumption, and go green.

Our country is uniquely placed to be the world's first low carbon economy.

We have the natural resources to generate wind and wave power, a skilled workforce trained in the energy industry, and a high-tech manufacturing sector.

If you would like to know more about Conservative thinking on energy prices, just email me at mark@markformosa.com or visit: www.markformosa.com

*The Post Office Ltd

**Contact a Family charity for families with disabled children