Cost of living crisis

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 have also cut fuel duty by 5p per litre to ease rising costs on motorists, saving drivers £100 this year.
In addition, the UK Government is also providing a third of households in the UK £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 Scottish Government has been given £290 million by the UK Government as part of the funding for the council tax rebate rollout across the UK and as council tax is devolved in Scotland, it was the responsibility of the Scottish Government to pass on the funding.
However, it is clear that the UK Government needs to do more to support families in the face of rising costs. Both candidates for the Conservative Leadership have said that they will announce further support if they are elected. You have my assurance that I will make representations for swift and decisive action to whoever emerges victorious from this contest.
The SNP have 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 ease the cost of living crisis.
However, as of June 2022, £41 million had not been allocated and it is unclear what the Scottish Government intend to do with this money. The SNP previously failed to spend £650 million of Scotland’s 2021/22 budget, money which could have been used in tackling the cost of living.
The SNP are also choosing this time of crisis to spend £20 million and precious government resources to push for another divisive independence referendum which is completely the wrong priority at the worst possible time. They should be squarely focussed on tackling the cost-of-living crisis and not pushing for a
referendum that the majority of Scots don’t want.