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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Energy price hike will mean social, physical and economic devastation for Scots


Campaigners warn energy costs will create issues in society across the board

Low income families, the disabled, the elderly and those with mental health issues will be plunged deeper into a social and economic morass as energy prices double, charities have warned.  

It comes as the typical household energy bill will hit £3,549 a year from 1 October, regulator Ofgem announced.

But charities have warned that this will plunge more into poverty with a resulting cost on mental and physical health.

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “The first moral duty of government is to protect people and provide them with security. The UK government and Ofgem are failing badly in that duty and acting without any sense of compassion and justice.

“This massive price hike is in line with predictions. Ministers knew this was coming for months but have put nothing in place to prevent a humanitarian disaster.

“We must be clear. Bills of this size will be completely and utterly unaffordable for people on low incomes, many of whom have already been struggling with cuts to social security and huge wage squeeze for years and years. They will cause stress, anxiety, illness, debt and death.

“The UK government must act now. It is simply not right that they continue to dither – prices must be frozen and targeted support must be put in place to help those most in need.”

So far the government has promised a £15bn package of support for UK households.

This includes two payments totalling £650 for eight million low-income households on benefits and a £400 grant for all homes.

A typical annual bill is currently £1,971. New forecasts suggest that could peak at well over £6,000 a year next year, heaping pressure on a new prime minister to give urgent extra support for those struggling or unable to pay.

Prepayment meter customers, often among the most vulnerable consumers, will pay an extra £59 a year on their bill from October, taking the new typical bill on a prepayment meter to £3,608.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said the new price cap will terrify many low-income families.

“The next prime minister will be on a collision course with reality unless they increase support to reflect the scale of need and recognise the extra costs faced by families.

“But every level of government needs to pull out all the stops to prevent children suffering the consequence of the energy price crisis.

“Here in Scotland one immediate step would be to double the remaining Scottish child payment bridging payments.”

Becca Lyon, head of child poverty at Save the Children, called the price cap rise "a full-blown economic crisis for thousands of families".

"Children are at serious risk from today's announcement and could spend this winter in cold homes, with fewer hot meals, despite the best efforts of their parents and carers. Our children deserve better."

Tom Marsland, policy manager at disability equality charity Scope, says today’s announcement "confirms disabled people’s fears".

“We’ve been inundated with calls from disabled people who don’t know which way to turn and feel like they are being punished for using more energy.

“The government must intervene now."

Chief executive Dame Laura Lee of cancer support charity Maggie's said the energy price increase is devastating for people with cancer who were already deeply concerned about paying their energy bills.

“Our OnePoll survey just this week showed that 67% of people with cancer already thought heating bills were going to be a problem this winter.

“Let’s not forget people with cancer need to use more heating and electricity as they undergo treatment – while living on a reduced income.

“So today’s news is just added pressure, stress and anxiety for people at a time when they need to be focusing on treatment.

“I am shocked that people living with cancer today are being forced to worry about their basic needs being met.”



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5 months ago

Something about our gas flowing past us to international markets is very disturbing at times like these.