Cost of living crisis: Tories and SNP are both letting Scotland down – Ian Murray MP

The obscene profits of energy producing companies continue to soar. And while the shareholders watch their incomes rise, millions of families have been pushed into hardship. Meanwhile, the UK Government sits idly on the sidelines.

Thursday, 4th August 2022, 4:55 am
Oil companies have been making huge profits as the cost-of-living crisis make life increasingly difficult for many (Picture: Joe Giddens/PA)
Oil companies have been making huge profits as the cost-of-living crisis make life increasingly difficult for many (Picture: Joe Giddens/PA)

The heating may be turned down for summer, but it won’t be long before temperatures drop and people switch the radiators back on – just as the energy price cap is about to increase once again.

Without government action, that will mean eye-watering profits for oil and gas producers once again.

With household energy bills set to rise to almost £4,000 a year, BP alone has shown profits touching £7 billion in the second quarter of this year, more than triple the amount it made at the same time last year. That figure is the second highest in the company’s history.

One thing is clear: it’s families that need the money, not gas giants.

New analysis published by Which? magazine shows that some households can’t afford TV licences, subscriptions, broadband and phone contracts because they’re having to fork out extra for their utility bills on top of food and clothes.

In the world’s fifth largest economy, this is impossible to comprehend.

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Labour argued for months for a windfall tax on these companies to help bring bills down, but when the Tories finally U-turned they decided to hand billions of pounds back to producers in tax breaks. That is totally wrong.

It's clear that people need greater protection from rising bills. That's why Labour would use this money now to help people get through the winter.

Labour in government would bring down energy bills for good with a green energy sprint for home-grown power, and a ten-year warm homes plan to cut bills.

The only glimmer of relief we have seen so far has been the fall in the wholesale cost of unleaded petrol, yet the big retailers are failing to reduce the burden on consumers in accordance.

Motorists are being left at the mercy of greedy retailers and a negligent government who believe in fantasy economics.

Both candidates for the Tory leadership have shown themselves to be living on another planet when it comes to the cost-of-living emergency. The pinch is being felt right across the country, with rampant inflation meaning that workers are facing real-term pay cuts.

Here in Scotland, the result of local government pay ballots shows the level of anger and frustration within our workforce. Times are tough and neither of Scotland’s governments understand.

SNP politicians habitually pay lip-service to supporting our public sector workers when it suits their purposes, happy to clap along during the pandemic and namecheck them during election campaigns.

But when it comes to real action to improve their pay and conditions, the same politicians vanish into the woodwork.

Scotland deserves so much better than the SNP in Holyrood and the Tories in Westminster.

Labour knows and understands the struggles of real people and we can do so much more than oppose our governments – we can replace them.

Ian Murray is the Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South