Highland Council reveals energy cost concerns and issues funding plea

The Scottish Government has been urged to distribute available funds to local authorities in order to reach those most impacted by increasing energy costs.

Highland Council reveals energy cost concerns and issues funding plea

Energy regulator Ofgem last week announced a rise in the energy price cap from April 1, which will see average annual energy bills rising by £693 (from £1,277 to £1,971) for those paying by direct debit and by £708 (from £1,309 to £2,017) for prepayment customers.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak then revealed financial support will be made available to help people cope with the increase in costs.

Cllr Margaret Davidson, leader of the Highland Council, said local authorities have systems in place that can help communities out immediately.

Cllr Davidson added: “I am really concerned over the impact of these huge increases in energy costs on already hard-pressed households in Highland. The recognition of this and the additional funding from the UK Government is welcome. We now need to see how the Scottish Government will use these funds to support households with their energy bills.

“We have already recognised the pressures being faced by households in Highland and established our own Discretionary Fuel Support Fund to help those in most need of additional support with their winter heating costs.

“We believe these additional funds from UK Government that will make their way to Scottish Government via the Barnett formula, should be distributed directly by local government as we have the schemes and systems in place to get this money out to our communities quickly.”

Depute leader of the council, Cllr Alasdair Christie said: “This is an absolute horror story for many Highland residents who are seeing their bills and costs soaring, leaving them to make impossibly difficult decisions between food, energy, going out and basic day-to-day living.

“Help is available to residents from the council’s welfare support team and local Citizens Advice Bureaux both of whom provide a free and confidential service which can provide help and advice on personal budgeting, benefits you may be entitled to, and support on money matters.”

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