Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, and the SNPs economy spokesperson, is calling for urgent action to be taken to implement social tariffs, as a crucial measure to alleviate the burdens imposed by skyrocketing energy costs on vulnerable households.
The call comes as householders face a fresh price cap 5% rise on the 1st of January and the possibility of further rises by UK regulator OfGem.
Social tariffs are currently available on phone and broadband packages, for those in need, however, the SNP MP has called for this to be extended to include energy bills, given the impact that rising energy costs are having on many families, and those most vulnerable this winter.
The Chancellor’s lack of action in the Autumn statement has left many households struggling to make ends meet without even the energy bill discount support from last winter being renewed, even though bills are higher, with one in four already resorting to reducing heating to cope.
Commenting, Mr Hendry said:
“There is no support coming from the Chancellor on energy bills at a time when costs are higher than ever and most households are worried about how they will cope.
“More and more families are being drawn into debt in this Westminster fuelled cost of living crisis and energy bills are a massive concern.
“Folk here in the Highlands will be hit hardest by this persistent lack of action, even though we export far, far more energy than we consume.
“As temperatures plummet, and with prices set to rise again in January, people are having to make the decision between heating or eating.
“For some there is no choice.
“It’s utterly wrong that OfGem are considering further price increases.
“The price cap changes on January 1st shouldn’t be happening but news that they are considering another change, to benefit energy companies, is a step too far.
“Energy bill payers must be supported through this crisis, not punished further.
“In the SNP, we have continuously called for Westminster to introduce social tariffs, to help the most vulnerable and for the re-introduction of the £400 energy bill rebate, which would have gone a long way to help others to navigate the winter.
“Warm words won’t heat people’s homes this winter but we haven’t even had those from the Chancellor, who hasn’t acknowledged the struggle people are facing.
“Time is running out so we must urge the Chancellor to change tack and to implement this very needed support and to signal to the regulator OfGem that further price increases through the price cap are not an option.”
Those who are struggling with increasing energy bills this winter, can find a list of resources here: https://www.drewhendrymp.scot/find-support/energy/