THE Chancellor has been urged to offer households “real support” in light of the cost of living crisis as his energy rebate policy was slammed as a “sticking plaster”.

Families are facing rocketing energy and food bills but the UK Government has come under fire for not taking “meaningful action”.

People across the UK can expect to see their annual utility charges soar by nearly £700.

Rishi Sunak’s pledge on Thursday to loan £200 to bill payers for energy costs – which they will have to pay back – was called a “buy now, pay later scheme” by Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

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A £150 council tax rebate – not repayable – will be made to most households in England and Wales, resulting in around £290 million in Barnett consequentials for Scotland.

But Alison Thewliss, the SNP’s shadow chancellor, called for the energy loan to be turned into a grant and said households risked being “pushed into poverty” as a result of soaring bills.

She said: "Unless the UK Government heeds the warnings and takes serious action through a meaningful package of measures - including turning the energy bill loan into a grant - then it risks letting the growing cost of living crisis spiral completely out of control.

"People are already struggling to make ends meet and are being forced into the grim position of having to choose between eating and heating. The reality is that many more households are at risk of being pushed into poverty and hardship unless the UK Government acts now with real support - not sticking plaster measures.

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"It's no secret that the Tory government is too engulfed in scandal to get on with the day job, but it must step up to the challenge by delivering a real package of support, including introducing a major energy grant, reversing its cuts to Universal Credit, matching the Scottish Child Payment UK-wide, and bringing forward a Real Living Wage."

She quoted findings from Citizens Advice Scotland that showed more than half a million Scots found their energy bills unaffordable.

Thewliss said Westminster must take the figures as a “wake-up call”.