ENERGY firms have been criticised for price hikes when millions are suffering fuel poverty.

MSPs debated fuel poverty in the Scottish Parliament with ministers urged to spend more and do more to ensure people can afford to heat their homes.

The Scottish Government said it was doing what it could to help alleviate the situation, but the real power lay with Westminster and issued six demands for action.

They include better regulation of the energy sector, cheaper tarifs and cash from suppliers to fund energy efficient measures.

Energy firms, Westminster and the Scottish Government were all blamed in turn during the debate.

Neil Bibby, west of Scotland, Labour MSP, said: "We have seen price rises in the last year of between 6% and 11% by the big six firms.

"Energy giants should not be allowed to get away with inflation busting price hikes when they are making massive profits."

The Conservatives said the Scottish Government was making the situation worse by pursuing renewable energy through wind power.

Murdo Fraser MSP said wind farms were a reason bills were rising and were contributing to fuel poverty.

Housing Minister Margaret said that the Scottish Government was doing what it could within its powers to protect people from rising bills and to make homes more energy efficient.

She said: "While we are doing everything we can within our devolved powers... we need immediate action from the UK Government, energy companies and Ofgem to help more households across Scotland where fuel bills mean people are struggling to make ends meet."