Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, relaying the urgency of the situation facing families in Na h-Eileanan an Iar who are set to be disproportionately hit by rocketing energy prices.
Energy regulator Ofgem announced an increase to the energy price cap last week as a result of the soaring global wholesale price of gas, which has quadrupled in the past year.
This will see almost a £700 increase in energy bills for the average household from April. Those on default tariffs will see an increase of £693 to £1,277 to £1,971 per year. Prepayment customers will see an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.
The funding of £290m for the Scottish Government from the UK Government is unlikely to go far enough and further support is needed, it has been warned.
In a letter to Mr Sunak, Mr MacNeil said: “My constituency already suffers the worst levels of extreme fuel poverty in Scotland and this new hike in the price gap is expected to cost most households on average £693 more per year.
“Scotland is an energy-rich country and the UK has failed to invest in renewables for a long time and we are now at the mercy of gas prices. In contrast, I understand that Norway is considering using their oil fund of about 2 trillion dollars to help consumers this year. However, we have no such option in Scotland as the UK used our natural resources.
“The Treasury’s response to the energy price cap rise falls woefully short of what is needed to help families cope with the growing cost of living crisis as household budgets are increasingly squeezed.
“I am calling on you as Chancellor to increase support to struggling households, if the Treasury doesn’t address this, it will have grave consequences for many people, who will be forced to decide between eating and heating.”
Constituents who are struggling to pay energy bills should contact their suppliers.
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