As Tories look after fat cats and SNP obsess about Scottish independence, country needs plan to tackle cost of living crisis – Ian Murray MP
The grim news has continued this week with inflation edging up to 9.1 per cent, meaning prices are rising at their fastest rate for 40 years.
That has a direct impact on families who are seeing the cost of bread, meat and other foods creeping up at the checkout. The average household will have to find another £400 just to buy the same food products as last year.
But it’s not just the weekly grocery shop that is affected. Petrol and diesel prices are soaring, with the latter now on the verge of an eye-watering £2-a-litre.
And everyone in the country has already been hit with a huge increase in home energy bills, with far worse still to come when the price cap is lifted in October. And this week we discovered the cost of all the suppliers which went bust will add another £100 to our bills.
Throughout all this, people are struggling with below-inflation wage rises, leading to the largest industrial action on the railways in 30 years, and the prospect of strikes across a whole range of sectors.
You would think this crisis would preoccupy the minds of everyone in politics. Predictably, that’s not the case for the SNP.
Angus Robertson decided his Evening News column this week should instead focus on his obsession with division and separation, while Nicola Sturgeon will use up the final hours of parliamentary business before the summer break in Holyrood next week to outline her plans for an unwanted second referendum.
The nationalists’ warped priorities are clear for all to see. And while they pursue their negative campaign (which would cause even more economic pain for households), the Tories are turning a blind eye to the crisis.
Over the last decade, Tory mismanagement of our economy has meant living standards and real wages have failed to grow. Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and their colleagues are woefully out of touch.
Despite all the evidence in front of them, they have been calling for wage restraint in the public sector.
And yet Number 10 chief of staff Steve Barclay has called for measures to cut controls on bosses’ pay for their friends working in the City.
Extraordinary hypocrisy and an insult to all those frontline workers who kept the country going through the pandemic.
Just as with the SNP, their priorities are warped.
We need more than sticking-plaster solutions from the government to get us back on course – we need a stronger, and more secure economy.
The reason we have the highest inflation in the G7 is because the UK Government has failed to secure our energy sector and supply chains, and has made matters worse by increasing taxes on working people 15 times.
In the longer-term, we need to buy, make and sell more in Britain, which will build the high-wage, high-growth, low-and-stable inflation economy that we need, along with a climate investment plan to grow world-leading green industries like offshore wind and electric vehicles.
Governments are not observers in this cost-of-living crisis, they are participants.
The households struggling today deserve politicians’ full focus, they deserve action now, and they deserve a plan – not more division.
Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South