Picture: MP Martin speaks out on impact of soaring energy bills in West Dunbartonshire.

West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has hit out at the Tory Westminster government for ‘abandoning’ local families to hardship as April’s energy price hikes take effect.

From 1st April, the 54% rise in the energy price cap means that households face an unprecedented £700 annual rise in energy costs – with the typical household now paying almost £2,000 a year for gas and electricity.

Speaking in the House of Commons, local SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes warned UK government inaction on soaring energy prices meant that struggling families forced into foodbanks are having to turn down food because they can’t afford the energy needed to cook it.

Following the UK’s Spring Budget Statement, Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been under fire from MPs, anti-poverty charities and advocacy groups for failing to protect households facing the largest fall in living standards since the 1950s.

Polling by YouGov found three-quarters (75%) of people in Scotland think the UK Chancellor’s announcements have not done enough to help people in response to the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

The Energy Action Scotland charity has forecast that 41% of people living in West Dunbartonshire will soon be spending more than 10% of their income on gas and electricity – the official definition of fuel poverty.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“Across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven there are people facing real hardship due to the UK government’s failure to act over soaring gas and electricity prices.

“I’ve spoken in parliament about the difficult choices my constituents are having to make between heating and eating. It’s appalling that as more families are being forced into food banks, people are having to turn down food because they can’t afford the energy needed to cook it.

“The measures announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement are woefully inadequate. Yet again the Tories seem content to condemn thousands more West Dunbartonshire households into poverty.

“The UK government holds the levers of power to tackle this energy crisis, but it is making a political choice to abandon struggling families to hardship. The Tory Chancellor’s inaction is shameful, especially compared to what our neighbours in Europe are doing to reduce the burden of rising energy costs.

“Time and again our communities are being failed by governments at Westminster. It shows why Scotland needs the powers of a normal independent country, so we can choose a different path.”

An extract from Martin’s speech in the Commons warning on the impact of rising energy prices can be viewed here: