Moray SNP News
LOCHHEAD HIGHLIGHTS 'GAPING HOLES' IN UK GOVERNMENT ENERGY BILLS SUPPORT18/10/2022
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has highlighted the ‘gaping holes’ in the support announced by the UK Government to tackle rising energy bills for both households and businesses.
The UK Government previously announced that the unit prices and standing charges for both gas and electric would be capped, but many are still facing unaffordable price increases with some households and businesses will be overlooked by the support completely.
Households that use heating oil will be offered an additional £100 payment but those off-grid have seen the cost of filling up their oil tank more than treble over the last two years, with the payment being described as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by campaigners.
Mr Lochhead has also been contacted by businesses still facing exorbitant energy bills, as well as some set to miss out on support completely. Businesses which signed fixed contracts after prices rose but before April, find themselves excluded from the scheme and Moray’s MSP has written to the UK Government to highlight those falling through the cracks in the support.
Commenting, Richard Lochhead MSP said:
“I’m continuing to be inundated with emails from local people and businesses who are rightly concerned that the energy support announced simply won’t go far enough to tackle rising energy costs and that London based politicians don’t seem to understand rural Scotland. We’ve now also seen the Chancellor today scrap the commitment to cap fuel bills for two years which will be a massive concern for households.
“16% of households in Moray use heating oil as their main source of heat and they are being left at the mercy of oil companies able to charge customers whatever they like for heating oil in a unregulated market that will not benefit from the cap on typical household bills. The offer of a £100 voucher is an insult and will do little to support those off the grid.
“There remains huge uncertainty for businesses and organisations, with some being offered no support at all and others still facing unsustainable rises. One local business has informed me that because they signed a new fixed contact just days before the 1 April cut off, they will not be covered by the new cap which will cost them in the region of £370 extra per month on their energy bills.
“The Conservative UK Government have completely abandoned rural Scotland throughout the cost of living crisis and I have raised the need for bespoke support for those off grid on numerous occasions with the Chancellor. The UK Government must offer a much more generous package of support to those using heating oil and the cut-off date of 1 April for businesses with existing fixed tariffs must be relaxed else some businesses will be forced to scale back or even close entirely.”