The SNP has said that Scottish rural households have been “hung out to dry” by the UK Tory government, following a financial statement that included nothing to support off-grid homes with energy bills.
Figures from the House of Commons Library estimate there are around 129,000 off-grid homes in Scotland reliant on home heating oil – households not connected to the UK energy grid and therefore not covered by the energy price cap or Energy Price Guarantee.
In the past two years, the cost of home heating oil for households has increased by more than 230%, rising from £0.31 a litre to £1.05 a litre.
For a home in rural Scotland, £100 would buy less than 100 litres of heating oil, which would provide just two to three weeks of heating.
The UK government previously announced it will offer just £100 in total to households across the UK who do not benefit from the Energy Price Guarantee, leading to calls from the SNP and others to increase this amount.
The Chancellor’s statement today made clear that call had been ignored.
Commenting, SNP Energy spokesperson Alan Brown MP said:
“Rural Scottish households have been hung out to dry by the Tories throughout this cost of living crisis.
“This latest lacklustre statement is an insult to thousands of families in rural communities across the country – and it’s another gaping hole in the UK government’s botched energy plan.
“The cost of heating rural homes is much higher than other parts of the country – with the price of heating oil soaring by over 230% in two years.
“It’s incumbent upon the Chancellor to recognise the financial fears of rural households and implement meaningful assistance to support them through what’s set to be a difficult winter.
“Scotland is an energy-rich country with more than enough energy potential to be self-sufficient – but yet again we are paying the price of Westminster failure and bearing the cost of not being an independent country.
“While the Tories are focused on boosting bankers’ bonuses, and giving billions in tax breaks to big businesses and the rich, they have forgotten about ordinary families.
“The UK government must wake up to reality and give rural families the support they need.
“With every day they fail to act, they are demonstrating Scotland would be better off as an independent country with the full powers needed to secure our energy supply for all homes.”