Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jo Swinson presses SNP ministers on fuel poverty

I had a bit of a grumble when I saw the news today that Scottish & Southern Energy were going to whack up our electricity & gas. We are lucky enough that it only makes us grumble. Rises of way above the rate of inflation are going to cause real problems for people, meaning that some will have to choose which basic necessities they will have Nd which they will have to go without.

It's hard to sympathise with companies who make great big profits and then say they need to hike prices. They would doubtlessly argue that they have huge costs & the fuel market is volatile. Nonetheless, they don't seem to be suffering.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson has called for action from the SNP Government to help those struggling. She said:

"As predicted, other energy companies have followed Scottish Power and announced a rise in prices. Many customers will be unconvinced about the reasons for these price hikes.  It still seems to be the case that the energy companies are far quicker to put prices up than they are to bring them back down.
“This is the last thing that hard pressed households will want to hear and will push thousands more Scots into fuel poverty. Ensuring measures are put in place to help meet the needs of vulnerable individuals and households must be a priority for Scottish Ministers over the course of the coming months.
“With company after company announcing price increases, it is particularly welcome that the UK Government is also taking steps to help smaller companies break into the market and end the dominance of the big six suppliers.”

I get what Jo is saying about the UK Government bringing more suppliers into the Market, but I do wonder if a regulatory body with more teeth might also help.


cynicalHighlander said...

Suggestions devolve the Crown estates so that Scots can get c£50 each rather than give it to a rich family down south.

Reduce/remove overall vat content on energy and reduce the top rate by 5% as that hits the poorest hardest.

Reverse the energy charging system so that instead of the Scots paying higher rates than the south of England.

Devolve these and the Scottish government can do something simple if one thinks about it.

Stuart Smith said...

I've seen this reference to VAT on domestic energy prices elsewhere where pwople haven't looked at their fuel bills closely. If they did they'd find VAT on domestic energy bills is only 5%.

Domestic energy prices will continue to increase as we need to upgrade the entire UK electricity network to cope with "renewables".

I'm afraid people are just going to have to get used to price increases.

It's what you do to help reduce the consumption of energy that's important including finding measures to bring in home insulation for hard to heat properties like tenements. That's something the Scottish Executive can do something about.


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