THE SNP have unveiled new demands for people on benefits or low incomes to get reduced bills.

The party’s call for a “social tariff” would cut energy, broadband and mobile bills for disabled people, the elderly and those on low incomes.

It would be funded through general taxation and a raid on the profits of oil and gas companies, the SNP said.

Speaking at a campaign event in Stornoway, Na h-Eileanan Siar, on Monday, party leader John Swinney said: “We believe that there are certain things that every citizen should have access to as a right. Healthcare free at the point of need, a social security safety net, pensions for older people, and free education including free university tuition.

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“But it is time that we recognised that these rights need to go further, to reflect the realities of the modern world.

“Energy is the perfect example. The whole country has been hammered by high fuel bills. And in the Western Isles, we have the worst fuel poverty levels in Scotland.

“The UK Government has the powers over fuel bills and we need to see real action – so our manifesto will confirm the SNP’s plans to extend the safety net to fuel.”

He described measures to halve energy bills as a “good start”.

(Image: PA)

Swinney added: “We believe the costs should be met from a combination of general taxation and by top slicing the profits of energy companies making massive amounts of money at the expense of ordinary people.

“That simple measure would make a massive impact in places like Stornoway – but the principle should apply to more than just energy.

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“Connectivity – fast broadband and good mobile phone connections – are critical to modern life. In fact, in rural Scotland and the Isles, it is critical to the whole future of the economy.

 “As more and more people work from home at least part of the week, often you literally cannot do your job without a decent internet connection. That’s why, to help people get jobs, keep jobs and keep more of their hard-earned cash, there should be a social tariff for broadband and mobile charges too.

“That’s just a preview of our manifesto. It is one that takes the traditional left-of-centre politics of our country and applies it to the challenges we face now, in the modern world.”

The party has previously campaigned against Labour’s plans to extend the oil and gas windfall tax on energy giants, which have made record profits because the war in Ukraine has pushed up global energy prices.

It appears unlikely the SNP would be able to implement the measure in Holyrood, as the UK Government has power over fuel bills. This means the SNP will need to make the demands of the next government in Westminster.

The SNP are expected to launch their manifesto later this week.