HOUSEHOLDS in Ayrshire could face energy bills of up to £5,000 next year as a result of the Conservatives' U-turn on financial support, a local MP has warned.

Earlier this week the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced a scaling back of the energy price cap freeze pledged by his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng.

The freeze will now last for only six months, instead of the two years initially promised.

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans branded the decision "reckless", warning households face massive energy bill rises again in April 2023.

Accusing the Labour party of failing to offer real opposition after their failure to vote against the changes, the MP said that real support to support households could only come with the full powers of independence.

Mr Dorans said: “It can be in no doubt that Scots, who are paying a heavy price for Westminster’s failures, would be better off with the full powers of independence.

“On a day where the Scottish Government set out a prospectus offering a brighter economic future the Conservative UK government were forced to roll back heavily on its proposals that crashed the UK economy.

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"And with it they recklessly removed the very little protection they offered to households through what is set to be an ever-worsening cost of living crisis the Conservatives have failed to get a grip of.

“They were already too late to act on energy bills, and now households face even bigger rises in April when the measly half-baked proposals to help families are scaled back in the latest iteration of Westminster Conservative austerity.

“What’s worse is that, given a chance to stand up for struggling households, the Labour Party once again sat on its hands and refused to offer up real opposition, leaving families in the firing line.

"There is little difference between the Conservative and Labour parties these days.

“By contrast, to help with the cost of living crisis the Scottish Government have used their limited powers to uprate eight benefits and bring in further increases to the Scottish Child Payment, but all of that work risks being undone or offset by the calamity ensuing in Westminster.

"It's clear real support can only come with independence.

"Scots should no longer be forced to bear the rising cost of Westminster failure and must be able to assume the full powers of independence so they can set out on a different, better path.”

In response, South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “Allan Dorans comments are just dishonest.

"It’s widely known that Keir Starmer has led the way in calling for a windfall tax on the excess profits of big oil and gas firms to freeze energy bills and a matter of public record that Allan Dorans and every single SNP MP failed to vote for Labour’s proposal in the House of Commons in February.

"He should be apologising for his failure to do his job, not try to rewrite history.

"Labour have just set out plans for the next Labour Government to establish a publicly owned energy firm to cuts bills, just months after the SNP Government dumped their manifesto pledge to do so in Scotland.

"In the Scottish Parliament for months Anas Sarwar has called for an emergency budget including a rent freeze, a rebate in water bills using the huge surplus held by Scottish water, the halving of rail fares and an end to bus fare hikes to help families facing the coast of living crisis - and the SNP opposed every single one of those measures at the time.

"The truth is we have two governments who have been too slow to act when it comes to supporting families- a Tory government engulfed in chaos and an SNP Government too obsessed by referendums to get on with the day job.

"There is no doubt we need change and as all the polls show that could happen by replacing this discredited Tory government with a Labour government.

"Getting rid of this Tory government should be the focus of anyone who wants change and it disgusts me to hear Mr Dorans say he has no preference between a Labour government and a Tory one.

"It shows that if you want rid of this Tory government the only way to achieve that is to support delivering a Labour one at the next General Election, which can’t come quick enough.”

The UK Government has been approached for comment.