Nobody in 21st-century Scotland should be worried about whether they can afford to heat their home.

But the reality is that hundreds of thousands of Scots are facing the horrible choice of eating or heating.

Spiralling gas prices and an increase in the energy price cap have resulted in families spending more of their money to keep themselves warm.

The uncertainty in the global markets which has caused firms to go bust is also adding to the problem.

New polling commissioned by Citizens Advice Scotland has found that 36 per cent of people can’t afford their fuel bills.

Of this, 80 per cent cited rising energy costs as a reason, with 65 per cent saying the rising cost of living was a problem.

The priority of the Scottish and UK Governments must be to protect those on low or no incomes.

Ordinary people are struggling and they cannot be expected to simply find the money from elsewhere.

Targeted interventions in the benefits system, particularly at this time of the year, would avert a steep rise in poverty.

The wrong approach is to take resources away from Scots, as this heartless Tory Government has done.

The £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit was a low point for this awful government and hit the vulnerable hard.

Nicola Sturgeon has already confirmed this week’s Budget will include a £20-a-week Scottish Child Payment for poorer families.

We hope this is one of many measures designed to protect those at the bottom of the income ladder.

Hard-pressed Scots should be helped – not punished.

It’s time to ban this vile trade

It’s beyond belief that some people can get their kicks from killing animals.

British hunters are being offered the chance to pay £33,000 to shoot hand-reared tigers in South Africa.

The hunter we expose today insists his business is “totally legal” but has no concerns about the morality of his trade.

Sadly, these magnificent creatures are worth more money dead than they are alive, such is the global demand to kill them for so-called fun.

It is incredible there is a market for this barbarity.

Trophy hunting is a vile trade and should be banned.

The UK government can play its part by putting pressure on other countries who tolerate this cruel “sport”.

It could also make a significant contribution to protecting endangered species by banning all imports related to trophy hunting.

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