Thursday, 5 January 2012
The UK Government must do more to tackle fuel poverty the SNP said as it emerged that the Chancellor had pocketed £1.4 billion over the last year in VAT from domestic energy bills.
Sharp increases in energy prices by the big six energy companies over the summer could see that total increase by a further £150 million, prompting SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP to demand the UK Government do more to help vulnerable households.
Dr Whiteford said:
“While vulnerable households in Scotland worry how they are going to afford their winter fuel bills the Chancellor is raking in record amounts of VAT from gas and electricity bills.
“Over the last year the Chancellor has pocketed £1.4 billion in VAT from soaring energy bills, but he has done precious little to help the people who suffer from fuel poverty in Scotland. It is high time that the UK government used some of this windfall to tackle fuel poverty.
“The SNP government is working hard on improving energy efficiency in Scotland’s homes. Our £50million warm homes fund will build on the success of the energy assistance package helping those in communities worst affected by fuel poverty.
“Since April 2009, the existing EAP has helped over 150,000 people on low incomes reduce their energy bills and keep their homes warm, now and for years to come. However in tackling fuel poverty we are in a constant battle with rising prices.
“Fuel poverty is a disgrace in energy-rich Scotland, and if the UK Government does not want to help then they should transfer the energy and economic powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament to allow the Scottish Government to act.”