A DECISION to scale back support for households struggling to pay their energy bills will have a “calamitous” impact on local families, it is claimed.

It was announced last week that the UK Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which was supposed to be in place for two years to protect people from soaring gas and electricity charges, will now only run for another five months.

That decision has been slammed by Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur, whose constituency stretches from Johnstone to Barrhead.

The SNP politician warned that scrapping the scheme in April could leave his constituents facing annual energy bills of up to £5,000.

Mr Arthur said: “This calamitous UK Tory government has reversed its proposals that crashed the UK economy and recklessly removed the very little protection they offered to households through an ever-worsening cost-of-living crisis.

“First they were way too late to act on energy bills and now households in Renfrewshire South face even bigger rises in April when the help is scaled back in the latest example of Westminster austerity.”

The Energy Price Guarantee caps the unit rate that customers are charged for gas and electricity, as well as standing charges.

It came into force earlier this month and is in addition to an automatic £400 energy bill discount that all local households will receive in six monthly instalments between now and March.

The UK Government has said that, after the Energy Price Guarantee is scrapped in April, further support will be targeted to households that are most in need, although it has yet to confirm exactly who will receive it.

A statement released by the Treasury said it would be “irresponsible for the government to continue exposing the public finances to unlimited volatility in international gas prices.”

“A Treasury-led review will therefore be launched to consider how to support households and businesses with energy bills after April 2023,” it added.

“The objective of the review is to design a new approach that will cost the taxpayer significantly less than planned whilst ensuring enough support for those in need.”