Anne McTaggart MSP has called on the SNP to turn their words on fuel poverty into action. Her call comes after Scottish Labour held a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the 23rd of April to discuss the growing crisis.
Ms McTaggart said “Fuel poverty in Scotland has increased dramatically in the past few years. 900,000 households in Scotland are suffering from fuel poverty. This is a national scandal. Here in Glasgow, at least 25% of households are in fuel poverty. We know with the recent inflation busting increases of the energy companies that the number is even higher.
Despite all the rhetoric from the SNP, the number of households in fuel poverty has actually gone up since 2007. Despite the increase in fuel poverty, the Scottish Government has failed to spend the money it has to combat this growing scourge.
Many of us will have received our fuel bills for the winter months. I am shocked at the plight of many of my constituents who are struggling to pay the costs of keeping their home warm in winter. For well over a million Scots their fuel bills are so high they are now classed as being in fuel poverty.
It’s really important for the Scottish Government to act. The SNP talk a lot about how things might be better after independence, but households need help now. I find it outrageous that the SNP have failed to spend the money they have on helping to insulate homes and helping to reduce fuel bills.
What is even worse is that the SNP are refusing to back our calls for an energy price freeze. Alex Salmond has met with the ‘Big 6’ energy companies eight times since 2010 but he has never ever asked them to freeze their prices. Not once has the SNP’s Energy Minister asked them to cut their bills.
So rather than speaking up for our poorest, Alex Salmond instead backs the big energy companies. As thousands more Scots slip into fuel poverty because of his government’s incompetence, Alex Salmond takes the side of big business.
Fuel poverty is a disgrace. Scottish Labour backs an energy price freeze and a reform of the energy market to break up the ‘Big 6’ energy companies. Why won’t the SNP?”