From April, the average energy bill is set to rise by nearly £700 per year after regulator Ofgem announced a massive 54 per cent rise to the energy price cap.

For the tens of thousands of people in North Ayrshire already struggling to make ends meet, the news could not come at a worse time.

Other prices have already been rising steeply in recent months, whilst support measures such as the £20 Universal Credit uplift and furlough have been removed.

Governments have frequently told households they need to tighten their belts for one reason or another. But the pandemic has led to the wealth of the richest increasing. We are definitely not all in this together.

BP has announced record profits and Shell made over $14 billion in profits over the last year.

Neither company has paid corporation tax on their North Sea operations for three years. Let us be honest: these energy giants are choosing to exploit demand by hiking ordinary people’s bills.

There are obvious actions the UK Government could take. In France for example energy bills increases are being capped at four per cent and other Governments are taking similar action in most European counties. Here, a windfall tax on the enormous profits of the oil giants could cover the cost.

The Scottish Government too should be looking at how it can tax profiteers such as Amazon.

What has been announced instead? A miserly £200 loan to help with bills and a one-off council tax discount that many households will not even receive.

Ordinary households did not cause this crisis, but yet again they are expected to pay for it whilst global corporations and the super-rich extract what they can.

We have had a decade of stagnating wages, foodbank use has skyrocketed and in-work poverty is at a record high.

Short term fixes are not enough: we need to fix our broken energy system and implement a national plan to insulate homes and tackle fuel poverty.

North Ayrshire Council is developing its own solar farms.

We need municipal publicly owned energy production.

The Scottish Government should be developing government and community owned energy production rather than leasing offshore wind exploitation to the energy giants.

We need an industrial strategy to make sure Scotland benefits from renewables with well paid job creation here.

The tide also needs to turn on pay. People need money in their pockets if we are to restimulate the economy and raise living standards. Price hikes and wage cuts are not facts of life but political choices made by those in power.

We must not repeat the mistakes after the 2008/9 financial crisis. Austerity economics did not work when it was introduced by the Coalition Government in 2010.

We must invest in our communities and not make ordinary households pay the cost of a crisis they did not create.