THE dire consequences of the cost of living crisis have been laid bare with support services and politicians in North Ayrshire issuing a desperate plea for “urgent and radical action” to tackle soaring energy bills.

Industry regulator Ofgem announced last week that the current energy price cap will almost double from October – marking an 80 per cent rise in the default tariff to £3,549.

The staggering shift will see the cap jump from £1,277 on October 1 last year, meaning it has increased almost three-fold in 12 months, and the new rate will remain in place until December 31, when it will be adjusted again.

Worse is forecast to come next year – but North Ayrshire Foodbank bosses have warned people are already “struggling in the here and now”.

Meanwhile, the region’s recently-relaunched Citizens Advice service said many of its clients “will simply be unable to afford another increase”.

North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson, of the SNP, said: “Even though the UK Tory Government is in a state of paralysis, households and businesses need help right now. They can’t afford to wait weeks or months more, without knowing when, what or whether any meaningful support will come.

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“The UK Government must reverse the energy price cap rise and deliver an emergency budget that provides the support people need – including scrapping VAT on fuel, doubling support for households, and introducing energy grants for businesses.

“The limited support currently available is a drop in the ocean compared to the tidal wave of soaring prices.”

Craig Crosthwaite, development manager at North Ayrshire Foodbank, said they are working on setting up a “warm bank”, with many facing a daunting choice between heating or eating this winter.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The energy price cap will rise to £3,549 from October 1The energy price cap will rise to £3,549 from October 1

He said: “The pressure on households is definitely growing and there has been a marked increase in calls for support.

“This is true of not just the food bank but all services across the local authority area.

“The food bank has made a Facebook appeal to the corporate sector as our stocks are severely depleted and winter is not yet upon us.

“The public have been magnificent in their support, however, the outflow of food is a concern.

“The food bank would welcome support from businesses to bolster our stocks. Households are struggling in the here and now.”

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Citizens Advice Scotland announced the timely launch of a North Ayrshire debt service earlier this year, and a spokesperson for the local branch said they echoed the sentiments of national chief executive, Derek Mitchell, who called for “urgent and radical action from policy makers”.

Mr Mitchell said: “This crisis is on the scale of the pandemic and it needs a similar level of response.”

The local spokesperson added: “Ofgem’s recent announcement that the price cap is set to increase to £3,549 per year from October will horrify many people who are already struggling financially. Many of our clients will simply be unable to afford another increase.”

Katy Clark, Labour MSP for West Scotland, said: “This is a national emergency and this Tory government aren’t lifting a finger to help.

“That’s why the government must step in and cancel the price hike, prevent a further uplift in January and restore the price cap to the pre-April level of £1,277 per year.”

Jamie Greene, Conservative MSP for West Scotland, said: “There is always more that can be done and this includes the Scottish Government dropping their plans to spend precious government resources and tens of millions of pounds pushing for another divisive independence referendum.”

Alan McLaren, community links worker for Christians Against Poverty’s Ayrshire service, added: “We know this will affect people in Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston and we would urge those who are struggling with debt not to ignore it, but to get in contact with us for free debt help on 0800 328 0006 or visit”

For energy advice, email

For debt enquiries, contact Enquiries can also be made by calling 0141 889 2121.