THE SNP has demanded an apology from the Better Together campaign over claims Scotland would have cheaper energy bills staying in the Union, as a charity warned that almost three-quarters of households north of the Border could end up suffering fuel poverty.

Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader said the 2014 pro-Union group should say sorry for claiming that voting no would result in paying up to £189 less on energy bills, while independence would see a rise of up to £875 per year.

The call comes after Ofgem announced an increase to the energy price cap, meaning typical yearly bills are rising to £3549 from October – with costs expected to soar even further this winter.

Charity Energy Action Scotland said almost three-quarters of households in Scotland could end up suffering from fuel poverty as a result.

READ MORE: Protesters gather outside Glasgow Ofgem office to demand energy price freeze

In 2019, it was estimated that one in four households (24.6%) were suffering from fuel poverty – defined as a household having to spend more than 10% of their income on energy after housing costs have been deducted.

Yesterday, UK Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said things will be “really hard” for middle-earners, as well as society’s most vulnerable. He suggested those earning around £45,000 annually could struggle to cope with soaring living costs.

Blackford said: “Scots deserve an apology from the Better Together campaign – whether that be from [Alistair] Darling, [Gordon] Brown or any other pro-Union party leader – over their utterly false claims on cheaper energy bills.

“In 2014, Scots were wrongly told that if they voted No to independence, they would pay cheaper energy bills. We were also told by the Tories in 2016 that Brexit would bring cheaper energy bills.

“The reality is, that under continued Westminster rule, Scots are facing spiralling energy costs as the price cap increases from £1971 to £3549.

“It’s no wonder the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems want to shut down debate on independence – that would remind people of all the broken promises they made in 2014 that they want us to forget.”

Frazer Scott, chief executive of Energy Action Scotland warned energy costs rising is “simply going to damage the health and wellbeing of the population”.

He said people were getting “increasingly desperate”, adding: “It’s getting to the point where nearly 75% of the population could fall into our definition, and that is just unthinkable.”

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “For many, many households this is so serious that mental health is suffering, people are doing increasingly desperate things just to get by. And this is before we get to the winter months.”

He told how organisations providing support were “dealing with desperate people every single day”, with the rising prices making it “more and more challenging” for organisations such as Energy Action Scotland to help.

The charity said energy was “quickly becoming a luxury good”, tweeting: “Only the wealthy can afford it and are perversely better placed to achieve more efficient homes protecting themselves from higher prices.

“[This is] a system stacked against vulnerable, low-income households. Not right, not fair.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour can’t ‘out-nationalist’ SNP or ‘out-Union’ Tories

In the worst warning yet, energy consultancy Auxilione forecast an average yearly bill of £7700 from April 2023.

Blackford also repeated his party’s calls for the UK Government to “step in” and protect people from the cost of living “catastrophe”.

He also warned there is a “real threat” that many businesses will “go to the wall” during the winter period.

The call was echoed by Colin Borland of the Federation of Small Businesses, who said: “Action needs to be taken now before it is too late.”