ALBA leader Alex Salmond has blamed the Union for the spiralling energy crisis and said that fuel poverty will not end without independence.

The former First Minister is due to speak in Inverness on Thursday, and will say that the UK Treasury will always exploit Scotland’s energy wealth - whether that be oil and gas or renewables.

It comes as Scottish energy secretary Michael Matheson said it was “completely unacceptable” that the Scottish Government had not been consulted on the PM’s energy strategy.

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Salmond, is due to speak at an Alba event in the Highlands this afternoon, and will reportedly say: “Scotland remains the only country ever to have discovered massive energy resources off her shores, oil, gas and now renewables, and to have gotten poorer – that has been the price of the Union.

“It is a scandal that so many of our people and communities in the Highlands and Islands are experiencing unprecedented levels of fuel poverty, in some cases such as the Western Isles, running at over 50%, while Scotland’s massive energy resources are being siphoned off to meet the UK’s energy security and to boost sleekit Sunak’s Treasury coffers.

“Only with independence can the people of Scotland take full control of our massive energy resources into our own hands, lift our people out of fuel poverty and invest in the clean, green and affordable energy sources of the future.

“Then and only then can we end the indignity of fuel poor Scots living in energy rich Scotland.”

The National:

Salmond is in Inverness to promote the “Wee ALBA Book” - the new case for Independence.

Matheson also criticised the UK’s plans on BBC Radio Scotland on Thursday morning, pointing out that the much-delayed energy strategy which will “lean heavily on Scotland’s energy resources in the years to come”.

The PM’s plan focusses on a boost to nuclear power, more drilling for oil and gas, and renewable energies such as offshore wind.

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However, Matheson said that in his view the strategy should have focussed on accelerating decarbonisation of the energy network, ramp up investment in energy efficiency programmes and the fast-tracking of projects like the Acorn Project, a carbon capture utilisation in St Fergus, Peterhead, which was snubbed in a £1 billion funding competition last year by the UK Government.

Environmental campaigners and unions have been criticial of the plan - which was delayed by nearly four weeks - which is supposed to reduce reliance on international oil and gas and cut costs for consumers.

However, many critics have pointed out that nuclear in particular can be costly, and produces toxic waste.