Cost of living crisis: Tories and SNP are distracted by their parties' woes as food price inflation hits families hard – Ian Murray
The news that inflation has fallen slightly is a relief to households across the country. But let’s not pretend that 8.7 per cent is anything to cheer about. It means costs are still far outstripping wage rises, pushing more people into financial hardship.
And, most importantly, food prices are surging at terrifying rates. Groceries are up by 19.1 per cent, nearly a record high, with staples like sugar, milk and pasta all costing far more at the checkout. For families already struggling with the cost of living, this is making life even harder.
Never have people paid so much in tax and got so little in return. We urgently need a period of economic growth and a focus on building greater economic security at home. Yesterday, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves made that precise argument in a major speech, pointing out that Labour’s mission to secure the highest sustained growth in the G7 will make families across every part of our country better off.
Her new business model for Britain outlines how to build economic strength in an age of insecurity, embrace a modern, supply-side approach and help the country seize the opportunities of the future, drawing on the talent and efforts of businesses and working people everywhere. Cities like Edinburgh are brimming with exactly the kind of talent we need to create this brighter future.
The problem is that we currently have two governments completely distracted from the day job. The Tory turmoil continues. Boris is back to remind us that Conservative sleaze hasn’t gone away, and the former Prime Minister has been referred to the police over more potential Covid rulebreaking. Home Secretary Suella Braverman is at the centre of a row over her speeding offence. It’s no wonder that so many Tory MPs are fleeing for the lifeboats: Dominic Raab is the latest to announce he’ll stand down at the election.
But things aren’t much better in Scotland. The SNP’s in chaos, with its finances under police investigation and several recent arrests. And it has other problems too. Bullying investigations are being kept secret, public scandals such as the deaths at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow or the Nike Covid outbreak at the start of the pandemic are covered up, and sexual misconduct allegations are swept under the rug.
Under the SNP, scrutiny is not tolerated. That’s no way to run a government or build trust in public service, and it means that the SNP is so distracted trying to hide everything that it fails to focus on what really matters. So it’s no surprise that people are deserting the SNP.
The latest opinion polls show Labour on course to make large gains in next year’s election. But for us, it’s not just about the Tories and the SNP deserving to lose – of course, they do. They know that themselves. For us, it’s about deserving to win.
And that will be our relentless focus in the months ahead, ensuring we listen to the people and build a plan for the brighter future that Scotland and the UK deserve. As families all over Edinburgh and Scotland worry about their bills, a UK Labour government concentrating on their priorities is what they need most.
Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South