SNP would remove green levies from energy bills

The Scottish National Party (SNP) would remove green and social levies from energy bills and meet those costs through general taxation if they governed an independent Scotland.

Speaking today at the SNP party conference in Perth, the deputy first leader Nicola Sturgeon said removing the levies from bills would cut bills for Scottish consumers by 5 per cent – or £70 per year.

She said if Scotland votes for independence next year, direct government funding worth £200 million would be spent on tackling fuel poverty.

Sturgeon said the current system, which sees £80 million collected through taxes by the Scottish government and £120 million collected via levies on energy bills, is “disjointed” and “doesn’t take account of Scottish priorities and it’s not as efficient as it could be”.

She added: “That money will be spent in a fully joined up way, on schemes designed in Scotland to meet Scottish circumstances.

“And this won’t just allow us to deliver out energy efficiency schemes more effectively. It will also save hard-pressed consumers money.”

Speaking earlier today at the SNP conference, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said renewable generation in Scotland is “increasingly important to keeping the lights on across these islands”.

Ewing added: “By displacing electricity generated by fossil fuels which are vulnerable to price rises on the international markets, renewables will keep bills lower than would otherwise be the case – £166 a year lower according to analysis conducted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) earlier this year.”

He also highlighted the role of renewable generation, saying it had created more than 11,000 jobs in Scotland, resulted in more than £5 million is being paid in community benefits and displaced more than 10 million tonnes of CO2.