South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has backed calls for urgent measures to support households who are struggling to pay their utility bills due to the corona crisis.

Her intervention comes after SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford wrote to party leaders to urge them to get round the table with energy and utility providers to bring in a series of measures including introducing grants, a 6-month ban on cutting off utilities and a freeze on prices.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

“The Scottish Government has already done a lot to help struggling families, for example, introducing legislation to prevent evictions and offering hardship grants.

Now the UK government must work with the utility companies to make sure no-one is left unable to heat their homes or have access to phones and the internet. Now, more than ever it’s vital that people can keep in touch with elderly and vulnerable relatives without the worry of getting into debt.

“The big energy providers like British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power made billions in profits last year from customers across the UK. The least they can now do is help struggling households keep the heating on and stay in touch with their families.”