According to UK energy watchdog Energywatch, record gas and electricity prices have forced almost one in three households in Scotland into fuel poverty.

The Energywatch analysis shows that around 650,000 Scottish households now spend more than 10% of their income on energy, placing them in fuel poverty by the watchdog’s measure.

In light of the disturbing findings, Energywatch has again called on the UK government and the energy industry to take action. It is arguing for a three-step program to improve conditions. It wants fairer tariffs for low-income households, such as discounted energy packages and lower prepayment meter prices; smarter meters to allow consumers to manage their consumption; and increased investment in energy efficiency to cut bills and reduce the environmental impact of energy use.

Graham Kerr of Energywatch Scotland said: Recent record price hikes outstrip the benefits of record public spending on making homes warmer. Consumers in Scotland urgently need a new integrated approach to ending fuel poverty. Industry, the regulator and governments must come together and take a fresh look at how they can make energy affordable for all.