THE UK Government has been told to increase tax relief for people working from home – amid a warning the amount is “nowhere near enough” for Scots on low incomes as fuel bills increase.

Under the system, workers can only claim between £1.20 a week and £2.40 a week if they are a basic rate taxpayer. But the average household energy bill could soar by more than £100 this winter for those working from home five days a week, according to Energy Helpline.

The Scottish Government is insisting those who can work from home continue to do so, in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is encouraging those eligible to apply for the tax relief, but has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to increase the support for those on low incomes.

READ MORE: Pupils urged to wear extra layers with classroom windows left open as covid precaution

CAS’s markets spokesperson, Kate Morrison, said: “Tax relief is available for those who have been working from home over the last six months who might start to see their energy bills spike as temperatures drop.

“You can apply now for tax relief in this tax year, even if you do not know how much longer you will be working from home. HMRC will then update your tax code to apply the tax relief for the whole of this tax year, even if you go back to your workplace before 6 April 2021.

“But ultimately the current tax relief available is nowhere near enough for those on low incomes."

She added: “We are concerned that this relief will not help off-set the bill shock they are set to face.

“People on lower incomes might only just be able to pay for their household expenses at the moment and an energy bill increase could tip them over into fuel debt.

READ MORE: Scots face fuel poverty as lockdown energy bills rise

“With the situation unlikely to improve any time soon, we’re calling on the Chancellor to review the relief available and increase it for those on low incomes as we move into winter and the next year.”

The SNP has backed the calls for more support for people continuing to work from home, particularly for those on low incomes.

The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Alison Thewliss, said: "While I would encourage everyone working from home to claim tax relief from HMRC, it is clear that the current amount goes nowhere near far enough. The UK Government must review the relief available and increase it for those on low incomes.

"This is particularly crucial as we head into winter and as the Tories press ahead with their disastrous plans to end the furlough scheme at the end of this month, which will see millions more lose hours and face lower incomes. I am, once again, urging Rishi Sunak to rethink the decision.

"We cannot have a situation where millions of people are forced to stay at home but unable to keep these homes running."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Employees can claim tax relief for the additional costs of homeworking if they keep records and can evidence them.

“These are not limited to £6 per week. This is simply the flat rate below which employees do not need to calculate costs and keep records and is designed to reduce administrative burdens.”

Tom Lyon, director of energy at Energy Helpline, said: “With many offices expected to be partially or completely closed over autumn and winter, millions face a worrying hike in bills from working at home at the time of year when we use most energy.

"In addition, consumers paying by Direct Debit should normally now be in credit ahead of winter but are finding themselves already in debt from spending more time at home since March.

“It’s vital that energy suppliers and Ofgem do all they can to support consumers who are struggling to pay spiralling energy bills. Customers who are worried should ensure they switch to the cheapest tariff and contact their supplier about ways they can help.”