By Bill Heaney
Lib Dem MP, Alistair Carmichael, has urged the new Business Secretary to introduce a price cap on heating oil to protect off-grid homes from spiralling prices this winter.
Carmichael has joined forces with fellow Liberal Democrat MPs in rural constituencies to call for a cap of between 70 and 80p per litre after prices reached 95p in October
In a letter to Grant Shapps, the MPs warned that thousands of people across the UK could face fuel poverty this winter due to the increased price of oil and other forms of energy.
Despite the huge costs of heating off-grid homes, the Government has only offered £100 of support and has refused to explain how people will be able to access this payment.
An estimated 7,500 homes across Orkney and Shetland rely on heating oil due to being off the gas grid. They are among around 1.5 million homes that use heating oil in the UK and are facing an average increase in bills of £1,200 per year.
Mr Carmichael said:“Orkney and Shetland are bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis but have repeatedly been neglected by the Conservative government.
“I receive regular correspondence from constituents who are worried about heating their homes. They feel insulted to have been offered a mere £100 when their bills are increasingly significantly more than that.
“My party offers a clear solution: extend the price cap to heating oil. This could be paid for by a windfall tax on the huge profits of oil and gas giants that are cashing in on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”
A tanker delivering heating oil into a rural area and (above right) large houses in Orkney. Picture by Bill Heaney