Cost of living crisis: As energy costs soar, both Scottish governments have collapsed – Ian Murray, MP

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The astronomical increases start to feel very real when people look at their boilers and know that it’s almost time to fire up and then back up again.

For months, the extent of the cost of living crisis has been clear. There have been warnings that more than 70% of households in Scotland could be in fuel poverty in January.

If there’s one thing the Covid pandemic should have taught us, it’s to be prepared.

But the Tory government has done absolutely nothing since Boris Johnson was forced to resign, wasting that vital time over the summer. Liz Truss clearly has no other plan than to focus on vague tax cuts.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the First Minister has gone from Fringe show to Fringe show rather than using her powers to help families. Of course, it suits the SNP to do nothing and point the finger at the Conservatives.

But having two absent governments is catastrophic for the Scots.

The £29billion plan entirely funded by Labour, would prevent the energy price cap from rising over the winter, paid for by an additional levy from the oil and gas giants which are making eye-popping profits.

Asif Mohammad, of convenience store Fazal and Sons, has been told his electricity bill will reach nearly £70,000 a year

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Our plan includes all off-grid homes in Scotland, where families have faced serious challenges this year. And we would waive the unfair premium penalty for customers using prepayment meters to pay for their energy.

Prepaid customers, often those on the lowest incomes, would receive an additional £300 over direct debit customers under Labour’s plan.

We can collectively save families in Edinburgh millions of pounds by ensuring they don’t pay a penny more on energy this winter. In Edinburgh South alone, the package would save people £39million.

It would also save families £47m in Edinburgh East, £58m in North and Leith, £49m in South West and £42m in Edinburgh West.

Labour’s plan to stop rising energy bills is a fully funded measure. We would close the government’s absurd loophole in its energy profit tax, backdate the start date to when Labor first called for a windfall tax January, and, taking into account the rise gas and oil prices, would raise £8 billion.

We would use the £14billion of untargeted funding already pledged to stop bills from rising, giving people the security to plan ahead, rather than giving that money back later.

Along with tackling the cost of living crisis, tackling the cost of business crisis is also vital.

Mr Mohammad is deeply worried about the future of his business and I met him last Friday to discuss what action the government should take.

The SNP has the power to introduce a £75m business hardship fund which could offer grants over the autumn and winter to businesses struggling to cope with rising prices.

The energy bill crisis is here, right now. We cannot wait another day to act.

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