Energy price hike widely criticised

West Scotland MSP Katy Clark has said that energy firms that are making record profits should be responsible for dealing with the energy crises and not ordinary people.

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Last week’s announcement of an increase in the energy price cap, which will see a huge increase in the price of electricity, has been widely criticised by industry experts, interest groups and politicians.

Ofgem announced the record rise to the energy price cap, from £708 to £2,107, last Thursday, after months of wholesale energy cost rises.

The announcement will see the average customer on a default tariff having to pay nearly £700 more per year on their electricity bill as the cap increase means energy companies will charge more for electricity.

The increase is due to come into effect in April and, according to Resolution Foundation figures, will push one in four UK households into fuel poverty.

Age Scotland, the national charity for older people, expressed its concern about the impact this will have on the one in three older households in Scotland already living in fuel poverty.

Age Scotland’s chief executive Brian Sloan said: ‘This eye-watering increase to the energy price cap confirms our worst fears and will make life considerably harder for hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland. Our research has always identified energy bills as the main cause for financial concern among older people, so this news will only serve to compound their anxieties.

‘At a time when many are already feeling under pressure due to rapidly rising energy bills, news that bills are set to rise further still will put those already struggling in an extremely difficult position.

‘Those with a prepayment meter and who may already be financially squeezed or in debt to their energy company are set to pay the most. That doesn’t feel fair or right.

‘Making ends meet in the face of the price cap rise will be tougher than ever before, particularly for those on low and fixed incomes.

‘Access to affordable heating options is more important than ever. Household energy isn’t a luxury. It is an essential resource which supports our health and wellbeing.’

The UK government announced it will provide some support through council tax rebates and other measures aimed at lower income households, however, this has also been criticised by some as being of little assistance.

Responding to the chancellor’s announcement of a £350 energy bill rebate, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This announcement amounts to nothing more than giving with one hand to take with the other.

‘The chancellor’s bailouts for energy firms do little to reverse the root of the energy crisis, while the council tax rebate is only papering over the cracks of the government’s policies.

‘If ministers really want to help households with the cost of living, they should power ahead with suspending green levies and the planned National Insurance hike.’

Meanwhile, Katy Clark, MSP for West Scotland, called on companies to pay for the energy crises and not ordinary people, particularly in light of oil giant Shell’s announcement of a record-breaking £14.2 billion profit.

Katy Clark said: ‘This cap rise is a political decision, not a force of nature. Ordinary families did not cause this crisis, but it seems they are expected to pay for it.

‘Thousands of people in West Scotland will be pushed into poverty because of this hike. This is not just an energy crisis – it is a social justice emergency.

‘The Chancellor Rishi Sunak can’t just tinker around the edges with short term loans or limited tax rebates. It is the failed free market model that is to blame.

‘The government must use a windfall tax on energy giants’ super-profits to pay for lower domestic gas bills and bring failed suppliers into public ownership.’

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, said: ‘This sharp rise will be a devastating blow for many households across Scotland.

‘It will cause deep anxiety and financial worries, leaving many people facing the stark choice of heating or eating.

‘But Scots don’t have to struggle alone. Free, impartial practical advice is available to everyone in Scotland through our service.

‘And charities and organisations in Scotland which provide debt, money or energy advice can sign up at as a referral partner to access a £3m Scottish Government fund for those in fuel poverty or rationing their energy use.’

Energy regulator Ofgem advise anyone who is struggling with energy bills to contact their supplier to access help.


West Scotland MSP Katy Clark says energy firms that are making record profits should be responsible for dealing with the energy crises and not ordinary people. No_B06energy01