06 Jan 2014

Energy costs to households increase twice as fast as wages

Glasgow Shettleston’s MSP, John Mason, says Westminster has fundamentally failed to deal with energy prices as figures show household expenditure on gas and electricity has increased by 33% since 2007 whilst average income in Scotland has only risen by 13%.

Analysis of official statistics published by the Scottish National Party show that:

• Average household expenditure on gas increased from £384 to £546 – an increase of 42%

• Average household expenditure on electricity increased from £452 to £566 – an increase of 25%

• For households using both electricity and gas the combined figures show an increase of 33%

• In contrast average annual household income increased by only 13.5% from £18,772 to £21,320

• The national minimum wage has also only increased by 14.3% – failing in every single year to keep up with the cost of living

Alongside SNP colleagues, John Mason has made the case for stronger regulation of the energy sector.

Commenting on the figures East End MSP, John Mason, said:

“These figures expose the shocking impact fuel costs have already had on household budgets across Scotland. It is appalling that energy costs are increasing two and a half times as much as household income.

“What we are getting from the UK Government is warm words, but what people need are warm homes.  There is no doubt that this is very much the case in the East End where fuel poverty levels are already far too high.

“Westminster has failed in every single year since the recession of 2008 to have the minimum wage keep up with the cost of living. Not only has Westminster’s inactions on the minimum wage been disastrous, it has also refused to do anything on spiralling energy costs.

“Without real action on energy prices we will see even more East End households pushed into fuel poverty as energy costs eat up household budgets.

“In contrast the SNP has pledged to move energy efficiency measures into general government expenditure in an independent Scotland, lowering energy bills for people in Scotland by £70 a year, or 5%.

“With a Yes vote in September, we will be able to secure the best deal possible for energy customers in Scotland, while working closely with the rest of the UK to reduce carbon emissions and provide a secure energy supply.

“We have also committed to ensuring all public sector workers in government and its agencies are paid the living wage.  But there is also a role for private businesses to play here, so I regularly raise this issue with local companies I meet.

“If elected, on independence – an SNP government will establish a Fair Work Commission that will set a minimum wage guarantee, ensuring that the minimum wage rises – at the very least – in line with inflation.”