Drew Hendry MP and the other attendees during the roundtable event

RELEASE: Highland MP Warns Energy Crisis Not Over

SNP MP Drew Hendry has hosted the latest roundtable event with local agencies and representatives from the Highland Council with the aim of encouraging collaborative efforts to mitigate the energy crisis for hard-pushed households.

This follows previous meetings where Mr Hendry met with housing associations, local service providers, and others to share experiences around the energy crisis and work together to help local people navigate the challenges it is creating.

The UK Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme ended in March, and with winter on the horizon, further government support has not yet been announced. This is despite energy bills remaining stubbornly high, with gas and electricity prices rising 36.2% and 17.3%, respectively, in the year ending in June.

With inflation also remaining high and the trend of rising interest rates, Mr Hendry says that the amount of people struggling is continuing to rise, and the situation may get worse before it gets better.

During the event, the group discussed various ways to offer help to those struggling, including the merits of introducing a social tariff on energy bills and making it easier and cheaper to insulate homes further, as well as the issue of protecting those who do not have an online energy account either through choice or by a lack of digital skills.

One of the roundtable attendees, Mark Beveridge of Citizens Advice Bureau Nairn, said:

“It was great to be able to speak to not just Drew but others to discuss the important problems that people across the Highlands face at this difficult time and to discuss the ways we can work together to help.”

Drew Hendry MP said:

“I’m pleased with the progress made at the roundtable event. There were many good ideas and potential solutions to some common complaints about how the market operates both locally and nationally.

“Folk have luckily had some respite from energy bills over the summer due to the warmer weather, but the UK Government should be making hay while the sun shines and getting further protections before it’s too late.

“We’re still not out of the woods; in fact, things could get a lot worse for people over the coming months. I will continue to do more and speak with the government and organisations to see what we can do to help out.”

Mr Hendry has long campaigned on the issue of Energy bills, most recently taking the UK Government to task on the unfair treatment of households not on the gas grid, as well as calling on Ofgem to do more to clamp down on energy suppliers hanging onto consumers balances unnecessarily.