Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil demands that additional support for households is announced in this week’s UK Government Spring Budget.
Mr MacNeil says a comprehensive package of support is needed including the continuation of the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payments for all families that currently receive them, beyond March, and an immediate U-turn on Tory plans to raise people’s energy bills by a further £500 from April.
6 out of 10 households in the Outer Hebrides are classed as being in fuel poverty.
A household is said to be in fuel poverty when its members cannot afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost, given their income.
Mr MacNeil said:
“After thirteen years of Tory cuts, Brexit damage and economic failure, the UK government must deliver a Budget which will support families instead of making households even poorer.
“Scotland is a wealthy, energy-rich country but families are paying an unacceptable high price under Westminster control as living costs soar, real wages tumble, and inflation goes through the roof.
“Energy bills need to be cut by at least £500, following Scotland’s lead with higher public sector pay deals, and introducing a Real Living Wage for all workers.
“The £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payments must continue for all families that currently receive them.
“With the wholesale price of gas falling, the UK government is already saving billions of pounds.
“If the Chancellor follows the SNP’s demands to scrap non-dom tax status, tax share buy backs, and expand the windfall tax, he could raise billions more to benefit ordinary families.
“An independent Scotland would have already acted long ago.
“The fact that the Tories are still refusing to help families, shows exactly why Scotland needs the full powers of independence.”
Mr MacNeil has also called for the UK Government to increase to the Rural Fuel Rebate from 5p a litre to 10p a litre in this week’s Budget.