THE UK Government is under mounting pressure to U-turn on its plans to inflict harmful cuts to support and to urgently introduce a package of measures to help low-income households cover the cost of rising fuel bills.

It comes following warnings from Citizens Advice Scotland that Scotland faces a “really tough winter” and could see a significant number of households being pushed into “debt or falling into poverty”. This is due to a combination of fuel bill hikes, the ending of furlough and the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit, according to the charity.

The SNP’s shadow energy spokesperson Alan Brown MP said: “Households across the UK are under huge pressure to get by due to a perfect storm of Tory cuts and tax hikes, energy price rises, and the continuing impact of an extreme Brexit.

“With warnings that a significant number of people face being pushed into financial hardship and poverty through no fault of their own, the Tory government cannot continue to bury its head in the sand – it must heed the calls and act urgently.

“Tory plans to slash Universal Credit by £1040, prematurely scrap the furlough scheme, and a hike in fuel bills will hammer households at the worst possible time. This is the time to be strengthening support, not pulling the rug from under the feet of those struggling to make ends meet.

“The SNP has been clear that the Treasury must immediately deliver an emergency package to protect household incomes, including by reversing damaging Tory cuts and introducing a new energy payment for lower-income families.”

He added: “As it stands the Treasury is also making money out of the crisis – extra VAT receipts on our energy bills, extra petrol duty and extra oil and gas revenues. They must use this extra money to provide support.

“This is a cost of living crisis entirely of the Tory government’s own making and it must act now before it’s too late for many households.”