Thursday, 15 September 2011

Household energy bills soar in Scotland

HOUSEHOLD energy bills have soared in the last five years, Scottish Government figures show - hitting the poorest hardest once more.

The latest statistics indicate that the average household spent about 14% of income on gas and electricity in 2009, compared with a low of 8% in 2004. 

Jamie Hepburn MSP, who obtained the figures, says that families are already feeling the pressure at a time when the big energy companies are announcing large price increases. He declared: "This is a scandalous rise in energy bills showing even more homeowners struggling. These hikes are hitting already under pressure households - many households have already reached the limit of what they can afford. People are really feeling the pressure from power companies and price rises. The UK government needs to re-evaluate the energy market and start helping those in fuel poverty."

Averages have fluctuated between 4% and 7% since 1999 for gas and electricity. In 2009, 7% of income was spent on gas and 7% on electricity, showing a steady rise from five years earlier. The proportion of income spent on fuel had earlier increased from 11% in 1996 to 13% in 2003-4.

Richard Baker MSP added: "Soaring fuel prices affect every Scot, but they have a disproportionate impact on those who are on the lowest incomes. It is our duty to help the poorest and most vulnerable, who will be hit hardest by price hikes, through these tough times."

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