Politics

Warning: ‘Scots will die due to energy price rise’

MORE Scots will die as a result of the energy price hike, while others will suffer mental and physical health problems.

The warning comes from the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) after energy regulator Ofgem revealed bills would soar by £693 come April.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that there would be a £200 reduction to electricity bills, which will be repaid over five years by consumers, as well as a £150 council tax rebate to help people cover the costs.

However the STUC said this was not enough, and the impacts of the rise will be catastrophic in Scotland, which already has a very high rate of fuel poverty.

According to the latest data, almost a qquarter (24.6 per cent) of Scottish households are living in fuel poverty, compared to just 13% in England. 

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said the situation is “shameful” and warned that failure to take meaningful action to stop the hike in fuel bills will cause a decline in mental and physical health, and ultimately an increase in deaths.

She said: “We already know that a third of Scots are finding their fuel bills unaffordable. The proposed £200 rebate comes nowhere near tackling the problem. This situation is set to worsen while the UK Government sits on its hands. It is nothing short of shameful that people are being forced to choose between food and heat. 

“The threat to households is made all the worse by cuts to universal credit and below inflation pay rises. 

“This will inevitably and rightly push workers to demand higher wages and we will support them in every way we can.”

The Joseph Rowntree foundation think tank said the Chancellor’s plans were “cold comfort” to those already struggling.

Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships explained: ” The Chancellor has offered cold comfort to families in poverty, who are already rationing what they can spend on essentials such as heating and food.

“These families are now expected to find at least half of the eye watering increases in energy bills, when many are already getting into debt to keep their houses warm and food on the table.”

She said those in poverty would be hardest hit, as ” our social security system is simply not offering adequate support, and until that changes they will continue to be exposed to every economic shock.”

“The Chancellor has made his choice, the harder choices will now be coming for those who still can’t afford essentials for themselves and their families” she said. 

The Taxpayers’ Alliance said the measures from Mr Sunak were simply “giving with one hand to take away with another”. 

John O’Connell, the group’s chief executive said: “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 own 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.” 

 

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