Take action now! Sturgeon unleashes fury at Westminster over eyewatering bills crisis

Rishi Sunak pledges to 'take Sturgeon on and beat her'

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Scotland’s First Minister has sent London an urgent warning as energy prices continue to rise as millions face fuel poverty across the UK. It comes as forecasters Cornwall Insight warned the maximum annual tariff could reach £4,200 by January. Some experts have even predicted that by April, the price cap could reach an eye-watering £5,500. In Scotland alone, it is estimated that 900,000 households, or 36 percent of all households, will be pushed into fuel poverty by October.

Now, Ms Sturgeon is set to convene a summit with energy supply companies as she scrambles to alleviate the burden for Scottish consumers.

The summit is set to take place ahead of industry regulator Ofgem’s next energy price cap announcement on August 26.

With rising bills brought on largely by the war in Ukraine, as well as Russian gas cuts, the price of wholesale natural gas has soared globally and is having a knock-on effect for consumers for the whole of Britain.

But according to the First Minister, the real power to shield Scottish consumers from the impacts lies in Westminster’s hands.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know that this is an incredibly unsettling time for households and energy consumers across Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to support those affected.

“There is a not a single solution to this problem and government, industry and the third sector in Scotland needs to work collaboratively together to ensure the right support is in place for householders and businesses during this challenging winter.

“This could include improving the availability of help and advice and considering a more compassionate approach to debt management.”

The First Minister added: “However, it remains the case that the powers and resources needed to tackle this emergency on the scale required – access to borrowing, welfare, VAT on fuel, taxation of windfall profits, regulation of the energy market – lie with the UK Government.

“Only the UK Government can access and make available resources on the scale required. They need to take action, now.

“As I said last week, a first step would be to cancel the energy price cap rise this autumn.”

But Ms Sturgeon is not the only critic claiming the Government should be dealing with the crisis differently, and is also not the only voice calling for the price cap to be scrapped.

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also taken aim at the Conservative Party for its action on the energy crisis, also calling for the price cap to be scrapped.

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He wrote in an opinion piece for The Guardian: “Time and tide wait for no one. Neither do crises.

“They don’t take holidays and don’t politely hang fire – certainly not to suit the convenience of a departing PM and the whims of two potential successors.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has previously said in response to the calls to scrap the price cap: “Over 22 million households are currently protected by the price cap.

“If the cap was not in place, energy companies could charge consumers even higher prices, over and above the costs of purchasing wholesale gas and electricity.”

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