Rising fuel costs are a global crisis but a decade of Conservative Government has left us uniquely exposed. It’s their failure on renewables, nuclear, storage and regulation that has left us so vulnerable, and now working people are paying the cost of Conservative failure. Instead of using their powers to mitigate the crisis, the SNP has exacerbated the problem by increasing costs on essential services like transport and water. Instead of arguing over who is to blame, Scottish Labour has spent its time working out how to help the people who have most to lose.
Prices are rising for everyone but hit the poorest especially hard, where energy is a greater percentage of their everyday spending. Fuel poverty has rocketed to 35% of households having to worry about heating or eating on a daily basis. And the problem is even more acute in remote and rural Scotland. Fuel poverty and the current pricing structure is wrong and needs to change. It is appalling that in such an energy-rich nation as Scotland, people are having to choose between heating and eating. Labour’s commitment to create GB Energy – a new publicly owned energy company – would not only cut bills and increase the availability of cheaper energy, but it would mean that people in Scotland would benefit directly from the profits on the energy generated on their doorstep and see more municipal and cooperatively owned renewables.
The SNP have failed again and again to use their powers to tackle the energy crisis, like retrofitting homes and buildings. Instead, last year they raided over £133m from energy efficiency budgets, and selling off Scottish renewable opportunities to foreign governments.
During the current energy bills crisis, Labour led the way on calling for a windfall tax on the excess profits of oil and gas giants to go back to consumers, but when they were given the option the SNP refused to back it.
Our plan to retrofit homes across Scotland to a minimum of energy efficiency rating C would upgrade up to 1.4 million homes across Scotland and create thousands of jobs in construction and manufacturing. Both of these measures would tackle fuel poverty, and lead to lower fuel bills, and deliver health benefits of warmer homes which could save lives and save the NHS millions of pounds.
We have also announced plans that will make Britain a clean energy superpower, creating jobs, cutting bills, boosting energy security and playing our part in tackling the climate crisis. Fixing the UK’s failing energy system would mean implementation of Scotland’s long delayed public sector energy provider and a reduction of Britain’s reliance on imported gas by accelerating home-grown renewables through our ambitious target of creating a clean power system by 2030. Across the UK we will make sure 19 million homes are warm and well-insulated and combined, our plans will save households up to £1,400 off their annual energy bills.