Further action agreed as consensus reached.
The Scottish Government, energy companies and advice organisations met at Bute House today (Tuesday 23rd August) for a summit chaired by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
During the meeting a consensus emerged around next steps that must be taken by the UK Government, and where further work and action will take place between energy companies, advice organisations and the Scottish Government ahead of a follow up meeting next month.
The First Minister said:
“Any further increase in energy bills in October will have a profound impact on households, businesses and the public sector already struggling with the cost crisis.
“No single government, company or organisation can solve this crisis alone. It requires a collective response commensurate to the situation and the Scottish Government is now treating this situation as a public emergency.
“There was clear consensus at today’s summit that energy customers simply cannot be expected to carry the burden of further price rises in October, and that the UK Government must now commit to freeze the cap for all households and to support the energy companies to deliver that.
“This meeting was focussed on practical solutions, but without action by the UK Government to address the problem at source, the actions we discussed can only ever mitigate the impact of such dramatic price rises at the edges.
“I am grateful to energy suppliers and our third sector partners for coming to the table today and for committing to work together with the Scottish Government to develop further action and practical steps to help households and businesses through the cost crisis."
Following the meeting of the Scottish Government, energy companies, and advice organisations, chaired by the First Minister in Bute House this afternoon, participants agreed that the scale of the energy cost crisis is unprecedented, with grave consequences for consumers; and that while mitigation is vital - and was the main focus of discussions - significant action is needed from the UK government to avert the crisis at source.
The consensus reached in the meeting was that the UK government should:
- Immediately cancel any further energy price increase for domestic consumers, and work with the regulator and energy companies to put in place the funding to support this;
- Provide significant additional support to help households and businesses meet current energy bills and the impact of inflation more generally;
- Take action to protect small and medium sizes businesses, and other organisations not covered by the price cap, from rising energy costs;
- Reform the energy market for the longer term to prevent this situation occurring again in the future.
The following actions to mitigate the current situation were also agreed and will be developed further:
- Energy companies will pursue all possible options to provide enhanced support to consumers who are in difficulty, including working with advice agencies and government to improve the support available to consumers, and protect customers from disconnection. It was agreed that the energy companies will work with the Scottish government over the next two weeks to agree a package of measures;
- The Scottish Government will provide additional support to advice agencies and consider, as part of its emergency budget review, further support for households and businesses. It will also undertake a public information campaign to promote energy efficiency measures alongside sources of help and support for those in difficulty;
- This group will reconvene following the announcement by Ofgem of the new price cap on Friday 26th August and the appointment of a new Prime Minister to determine further specific actions.
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