NICOLA Sturgeon chaired a summit on Tuesday at Bute House to discuss with energy firms what can be done to help households struggling with soaring costs.

As part of the summit, consensus was found on what the UK Government should do next to tackle the crisis, detailing a number of measures to be taken urgently.

The Scottish Government, as well as advice groups and energy companies, also committed to further measures they would take ahead of a follow-up meeting in September.

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Sturgeon said that her government is now treating the situation as a public emergency and that any further increase to household bills in October will have a “profound impact on households, businesses and the public sector” which are already struggling.

She added: “No single government, company or organisation can solve this crisis alone. It requires a collective response commensurate to the situation and the Scottish Government is now treating this situation as a public emergency.

“There was clear consensus at today’s summit that energy customers simply cannot be expected to carry the burden of further price rises in October, and that the UK Government must now commit to freeze the cap for all households and to support the energy companies to deliver that.

“This meeting was focussed on practical solutions, but without action by the UK Government to address the problem at source, the actions we discussed can only ever mitigate the impact of such dramatic price rises at the edges.”

What did the summit agree the UK Government should do?

The summit agreed that the UK government should:

• Immediately cancel any further energy price increases for UK households, and work with the regulator and energy companies to put in place the funding to support this

• Provide additional support to help households and businesses meet current energy bills and the impact of inflation generally

• Take action to protect small and medium sizes businesses, and other organisations not covered by the price cap, from rising energy costs

• Reform the energy market for the longer term to prevent this situation occurring again in the future

What measures did the Scottish Government and energy firms agree to? 

• Energy companies will look to offer more support to the hardest hit consumers, including working with advice agencies and the Government to improve support available. Energy firms will now work with the Scottish Government over the next two weeks to agree on a package of measures

• The Scottish Government will provide additional support to advice agencies and consider further support for households and businesses. It will also undertake a public information campaign to promote energy efficiency measures

The summit has agreed to meet again after Ofgem’s announcement of the new price cap on August 26 to agree on further measures.

A UK Government spokesman said: “We are providing a £400 discount on energy bills this winter and £1200 of direct support for the most vulnerable households.

“While no Government can control global gas prices, over 22 million households are protected by the price cap, which continues to insulate households from even higher prices.”