ENERGY prices must be frozen to protect Fife families from the "astronomical" increases that are coming down the line.

That's the message from Labour MSP Alex Rowley who says urgent action is needed to offset the worst of the cost of living crisis.

He warned that the coming months are going to be difficult and said: "As we head into the autumn the picture is bleak with electricity and gas prices rocketing and food prices are out of the purchasing power of many families and individuals.

"People working in low paid jobs are struggling to make ends meet, feed their families and deal with the rising costs of energy and fuel, all of which is pushing prices up."

He has written to the UK Chancellor and Prime Minister and said more must be done by government.

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP added: “Across Europe governments are intervening directly to freeze energy prices and the same must happen here.

"The projected increases in gas and electricity prices in October and January will devastate many people’s ability to heat and eat this winter and cannot be allowed to happen.

"I am supporting a public campaign to make sure these astronomical increases do not take place and that our energy costs are frozen.

“I am also asking the Scottish Government to explore all the options it has to increase support and help to get people through this winter and for local councils to do likewise.

"There is great work happening through local groups and an army of volunteers in communities, but we need government at every level to review and act.

"But I emphasise, it is crucial that the UK Government freezes the energy prices, not to do so would be a dereliction of duty and responsibility."

With Boris Johnson on his way out of 10 Downing Street, the crisis will be one for his successor to wrestle with.

Conservative MP Rishi Sunak is one of the two candidates to replace him and the former Chancellor claimed Labour's proposal to freeze energy costs, partly to be paid for by a new windfall tax on oil and gas giants' soaring profits, would be a "very blunt instrument".

He argued it would provide "a lot of support for people who don't need it".

Foreign secretary Liz Truss plans to cut taxes and promised an emergency budget if she succeeds Mr Johnson as PM next month.