The SNP has called for an urgent UK summit of energy and telecoms providers to help households who are struggling to pay their utility bills due to the coronavirus crisis.
Ian Blackford MP has written to party leaders urging the UK government and opposition parties to get round the table with utilities companies to ensure households have the support they need as unemployment rises, incomes are reduced, and utility costs and usage increase.
The SNP Westminster Leader is proposing a number of measures to stop people having their utilities cut off or getting into unmanageable debt, including:
- An Emergency Coronavirus Energy Grant – to support households struggling to pay their energy bills and prevent them accruing unmanageable debts.
- A six-month reprieve on utilities being cut off – to prevent struggling households from losing access to energy and telecoms utilities during the crisis.
- A freeze on prices – and a package of measures to keep costs manageable including flat-rate telephone calls and landline charges suspended during the day to help people stay in touch with their families and loved ones.
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: “This is a deeply worrying time for us all – but absolutely no one should be left struggling to heat their home or keep in touch with their families during this unprecedented emergency.
“Household bills and utility usage are going up at the same time that millions of people are seeing a reduction or complete loss of their income.
“Many are concerned they will be unable to pay – and worried they will be cut off or left with unmanageable debts.
“The SNP is calling on the UK government to ensure a package of measures to help struggling households – including a new Emergency Coronavirus Energy Grant to help pay the bills, a freeze on prices, and a six month reprieve on utilities being cut off to prevent anyone losing access during this crisis.
“The UK government must get round the table with opposition parties, energy and telecoms providers – so people can get the help they need and no one is left behind.”