Scottish First Minister to Convene Urgent Energy Summit
The Scottish Government has announced that the First Minister will convene an urgent summit with energy supply companies and consumer groups later this month to discuss how advice and support for people struggling with energy bills can be improved.
This summit will consider what collective action can be taken by government, energy companies and the third sector to help businesses and consumers access advice and get support with debt issues, the Scottish Government noted, adding that Scotland’s major energy suppliers - including Scottish Power, OVO Energy, Centrica, Octopus and E.ON - as well as industry bodies, will attend.
The Scottish Government estimates that 906,000, or 36 percent, of all households will be in fuel poverty in October 2022, based on an Ofgem price cap of $3,390 (GBP 2,800) and taking into account previously announced government mitigations.
“I know that this is an incredibly unsettling time for households and energy consumers across Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to support those affected,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a government statement.
“There is a not a single solution to this problem and government, industry and the third sector in Scotland needs to work collaboratively together to ensure the right support is in place for householders and businesses during this challenging winter. This could include improving the availability of help and advice and considering a more compassionate approach to debt management,” Sturgeon added.
“However, it remains the case that the powers and resources needed to tackle this emergency on the scale required - access to borrowing, welfare, VAT on fuel, taxation of windfall profits, regulation of the energy market - lie with the UK Government. Only the UK Government can access and make available resources on the scale required. They need to take action, now,” Sturgeon continued.
When asked for a response to Sturgeon’s comments, a UK Government spokesperson told Rigzone, “we know people are concerned about rising prices, which is why we are delivering GBP 1,200 [$1,440] extra support to eight million of the most vulnerable households in the UK this year”.
“Our newly introduced Energy Profits Levy will raise around GBP 5 billion [$6 billion] to help with cost of living support. We have also provided the Scottish Government with a record GBP 41 billion [$49.2 billion] settlement for the next three years and the Scottish Government has significant control over taxes and benefits,” the spokesperson added.
On August 11, Sturgeon chaired the Scottish Government Resilience Committee “to discuss urgent steps to mitigate the growing cost emergency”. Ministers agreed several actions in the meeting, including bringing together energy companies to examine what further help can be provided to limit cost increases and providing further advice to households on using energy more efficiently and reducing consumption.
Last month, the UK Government announced that millions of households across Great Britain will receive non-repayable discounts on their energy bills this winter. The UK Government revealed that a $484 (GBP 400) discount, administered by energy suppliers, will be paid to consumers over six months with payments starting from October 2022.
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