Local MP Richard Thomson has said pressure is mounting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to introduce an emergency energy payment for low-income families - as fuel poverty charities backed the call.
Mr Thomson was commenting as National Energy Action (NEA) and the End Fuel Poverty Coalition backed calls for a new energy payment targeted at low-income households. NEA estimates that an energy price cap hike of between £400 and £600 could plunge an additional 1.2 to 1.5 million UK households into fuel poverty - warning “without additional support, we’re really worried about the risk of needless death and cold-related morbidity this winter".
SNP MP Richard Thomson said:
"The UK Government has stuck its head in the sand and repeatedly ignored SNP calls for an emergency energy payment for low-income families - but pressure is mounting on the Chancellor to finally act.
"The UK is facing a dangerous cost of living crisis - with low and middle-income families being hammered by Tory cuts, regressive tax hikes, rising energy bills and the soaring cost of Brexit. If the Chancellor fails to take responsibility and deliver the help that is needed, many families will be forced to choose between heating and eating this winter.
"Under the Tories, the UK already has the worst levels of poverty and inequality in North-west Europe - and the highest levels of in-work poverty this century. It’s simply unbelievable that instead of taking action to tackle poverty, the UK Government is making it even worse by slashing the incomes of millions of households.
"Tackling the cost of living crisis must be the central focus of the Budget - but many families cannot afford to wait for help with cuts already hitting home. The Treasury will benefit from higher VAT returns on our energy bills; higher oil and gas revenues and higher petrol duties. It is time to redistribute this extra money being raised.
"I and my colleagues will continue to press for action, but it is clearer than ever that the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts is to become an independent country - with the full powers needed to build a fair recovery and eradicate poverty."