Calls for UK-wide social energy tariff

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland. Image: ADS

Scotland’s national advice service is calling for a UK-wide social energy tariff to be introduced.

Advice Direct Scotland (ADS) launched its campaign as it revealed it has been dealing with a surge in customers being cut off from gas and electricity because they cannot afford to top up their prepayment meters.

The charity is calling for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to bring forward plans for a social energy tariff when he announces the Budget on March 6.

ADS said an opt-out social energy tariff – which would automatically put struggling households on the cheapest deal – is the only way to effectively end fuel poverty in the UK.

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, said: “There is a moral imperative to fix the UK’s broken energy market, which has been exposed by the cost-of-living crisis.

"The introduction of an opt-out social energy tariff will help do this.

“Such a move will protect the most vulnerable people from spending excessive amounts on their bills, so they never have to face another winter in distress and discomfort."

Gillian Martin, Scottish Government minister for Energy, Just Transition and Fair Work, said: “I wholeheartedly support calls from ADS and other partners for action to protect hundreds of thousands of householders who, despite April’s price cap reduction, remain in fuel poverty and struggling with energy debt and bills.

“I have written to the UK Government many times calling for the introduction of a social tariff to provide long-term and vital protection for some of the most vulnerable people in society, and I am disappointed that it has not chosen to pursue this.

"I would urge a rethink of this stance.”

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