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The SNP has said the Tory government is "ripping families off" by imposing sky-high energy bills - and has challenged the Chancellor to cut household bills at the UK Budget on Wednesday.

Amid reports Jeremy Hunt will axe the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payments and keep the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500, Stewart Hosie MP said the Tory response was "truly pathetic" and "doesn't go anywhere near far enough to help people with the cost of living crisis".

With energy companies making record profits, and the wholesale price of gas down 75% from its peak, the SNP Economy spokesperson repeated calls for the UK government to save families £900 by reducing the Energy Price Guarantee to £2000, and continuing the £400 EBSS payments for all households that currently receive them, through to the summer.

Commenting, SNP Economy spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

"The real test for the UK Budget will be whether it actually puts a significant amount of money back into people's pockets - or whether the Tory government will continue ripping families off by imposing sky-high energy bills and real-terms cuts to public sector pay and benefits.

"This Budget is all about choices. The Chancellor has the resources and fiscal levers needed to slash household energy bills and raise public sector pay and benefits by inflation. There is no excuse not to act, when people's incomes are being hammered by the Tory cost of living crisis.

"It's truly pathetic that the Tories are talking about keeping energy bills at their current exorbitantly high levels, and withdrawing support payments - when many families are paying three times normal levels and are struggling to get by. And it's a scandal that they are forcing families in energy-rich Scotland to pay through the roof, for a resource we have in abundance.

"Instead of pushing more people into poverty and destitution, the Chancellor must deliver meaningful help for families. This vital support can be funded using the £30billion of extra headroom and by introducing fair measures to raise billions in revenue, including a levy on share buybacks, scrapping non-dom tax status and expanding the windfall tax.

"By failing to act, the Tories are making the case for why Scotland needs independence - so we can escape Westminster control and build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous future."


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