THE Scottish Parliament has begrudgingly given its consent to the UK Government’s energy price support bill, with ministers adding that it’s “better than nothing”.

The Westminster legislation will enshrine in law the Tory government’s energy price guarantee - which new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt cut last week from being in effect for two years to just six months.

Hunt has claimed it will be replaced with a more targeted approach, as he keeps the top Treasury job amid new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle.

MSPs voted unanimously to pass the Energy Prices Bill which is currently in its final stages at Westminster after an expedited process.

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Moving the legislative consent motion in Holyrood, Scottish Government minister Patrick Harvie said the bill was “far less than it might be” and that the parliament faced “challenging timescales” to review the legislation.

He told MSPs: “I would like to express the hope that this forced regeneration at the top of the UK Government might also compel a reappraisal of the glaring gaps in its energy policies.

“A prime example of a step in the right direction would be an immediate commitment to require and fund a major programme of energy efficiency measures and improvements.

“This would not only make homes more comfortable and affordable to heat, it would improve our environment and security of supply as well, by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and indeed reduce the power exercised at the whim of countries such as Russia and its current leader.

“While I would again reflect that the Energy Prices Bill is far less than it might be with the powers behind its creation available to this parliament, it remains, better than nothing.

“Consenting to this motion will allow the people of Scotland who are currently struggling to pay their energy bills and heat their homes to receive desperately needed financial assistance as quickly as possible.”

Harvie had earlier argued that the Scottish Parliament could take “vital action” if it had powers to make decisions on energy policy, currently reserved to Westminster.

He added: “That frustration is heightened today by the challenging timescales within which we’ve had to work in order to allow parliament to consider the implications for Scotland.”

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Scottish Tory MSP Liam Kerr said his party welcomed the bill, adding: “It will provide much-needed support for households and businesses right across the UK.

“No one has been unaffected by the eye-watering rise in wholesale prices of gas and oil in the past couple of years.”

Kerr also said of the six-month term: “I feel that is the right length of time to get us through the winter then have a review which will ensure the mechanism can be stress tested against what was projected, what was intended and what we have actually seen by that point in practice during the winter months and then to decide what is the best and most productive mechanism going forward.”

Scottish Labour MSP Colin Smyth said his party supported the legislative consent motion “even if the Bill was described as a landmark, two-year, price guarantee but has now been shredded to a six-month freeze”.