Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 12:06 pm ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 12:06, 24 Mai 2024

Please accept my apologies for not putting in to speak on this measure, Madam Deputy Speaker; you will understand that it has been a hectic couple of days and I therefore hoped that my bobbing would be sufficient.

Obviously, the SNP is not going to oppose this measure. We support the need for energy reform. When we look at the inflation figures, we see that they are so heavily influenced by the cost of energy. Market reform has been overdue for quite a long time, particularly in respect of heat networks, given, as the Opposition spokesperson mentioned, the increase in their amount. In my constituency, we have Aberdeen Heat & Power, an incredible and well-embedded heat network that supplies a significant number of council properties in the city. I would go as far as to say that it is one of the leading heat networks, because of the sheer number of properties it is able to supply. It gives cheaper energy to those properties, which is incredibly important.

We have made the case, as have significant numbers of campaigners, on things such as standing charges, particularly for electricity and gas; we have raised the concerns about the energy price cap and the fact that it does not give a reduction in that respect. We are aware that in October we are again likely to see an increase in the energy price and that people who have managed to find things a little easier over the summer may find them even more difficult this winter, because of the potential for increases. We will continue to make the case—the Minister would assume that I will—that Scotland has the power when it comes to energy but we do not have the powers to make the changes that we would like to see to ensure a fairer deal across these islands when people pay for electricity and gas. I am talking about the prices people are paying in their homes when those bills come through the door. We are seeing higher levels of standing changes in Scotland and of charges for organisations looking to connect to the grid. Frankly, we do not think that situation is fair and we would like to see changes made. However, we are pleased to see that the Government are moving towards reform and that this SI has been included in the wash-up process—it is good to see the Government prioritising it. I appreciate that the Minister has pushed for it and has taken the time to move it today.