I appreciate fully how hard it is for many families to cope with the rising cost of living. The global supply-chain crisis and Russia’s war in Ukraine amongst other issues are creating huge pressures on household bills and in particular energy prices.
The UK Government is already spending £37 billion on a package to address the cost of living crisis. This includes a rise in the National Living Wage, meaning an extra £1,000 in the pockets of the lowest earners. The UK Government has also cut the Universal Credit taper rate and increased work allowances, representing an effective tax cut for low-income working households in receipt of Universal Credit. The point at which National Insurance is paid has also been raised, putting more money in the pockets of the lowest earners by more than £330 a year. The UK Government has also cut fuel duty by 5p per litre to ease rising costs on motorists, saving drivers £100 this year.
To tackle rising energy costs, the UK Government has introduced its Energy Price Guarantee which from 1 October 2022, meaning a typical household in Great Britain will pay on average around £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years. Based on prices from October 2022, this will save the average household £1,000 a year. In addition to this, the UK Government is also providing low-income households £1,200 this year, to assist with high energy bills. This increases to up to £1,650 for some households with older and disabled people.
The UK Government will also cut National Insurance contributions from November through cancelling the Health and Social Care Levy. This means 28 million workers will now keep an extra £330 per year.
The UK Government’s number one priority during a global cost-of-living crisis and increased inflation is to secure the country’s finances, so that ordinary families can be supported through the tough times ahead.
The SNP has numerous devolved powers including control over social security and taxation powers which they can utilise to help ease the rise in the cost of living. The SNP must step up and use these powers to their full extent to help ease the cost of living crisis.
We also believe that the SNP is wrong to spend £20 million and precious government resources pushing for another divisive referendum when it is clear that is not the priority of the vast majority of the Scottish public.