Cost of living crisis: Tories are arrogant and out of touch, while SNP only cares about independence fight – Ian Murray MP

Few things make me angrier than the current inaction by both the UK and Scottish governments on the cost-of-living crisis engulfing everyone.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:45 pm
The pageantry of the Queen’s Speech, delivered by Prince Charles, was far removed from the reality of life for many people (Picture: Alastair Grant/WPA pool/Getty Images)

We needed a Queen's Speech this week that would tackle it, with an emergency budget including a one-off windfall tax on the excess profits of the oil and gas companies to get up to £600 off people's bills.

Instead, just like the Tory Spring Budget, it was another long list of missed opportunities.

Yesterday, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research published figures showing 154,000 Scottish households are going to see their bills exceed their incomes,

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Just imagine, the worry and anguish over receiving your energy bill at a time when fuel, food and other prices are rocketing. Just imagine, as a parent, putting your children to bed cold or hungry or both. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

With all the pageantry of the Queen’s speech, it couldn’t be further from the reality for most.

And they are not alone. Neither of Scotland’s governments seem to have given a single thought as to how we stop children going to bed cold and hungry, despite them both having the power to help.

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Instead, we have swathes of Scottish Government civil servants and millions of pounds ploughed into another fight about separation and a First Minister jetting off to America to make the case for independence.

While at home, economists are saying that growth in Scotland is going to lag behind the rest of a very sluggish UK economy in the coming year.

The SNP government needs to get off their constitutional merry-go-round and start putting the lives of Scots first.

No one in 2020s Scotland should be forced to choose between eating and heating, but thanks to both governments’ inaction this is the shameful reality for too many.

So, we have a Queen’s Speech with nothing in it to help those in need and, to top it all off, yesterday we saw Michael Gove give an embarrassing media interview, where instead of promising an emergency budget to tackle the worsening cost-of-living crisis he spouted complete nonsense, did poor impressions and tried to leaven his dire performance with an even worse joke.

They’re arrogant, out of touch, out of ideas and they should be out of office.

I remember in the 90s, when nightly news reports would talk about pensioners freezing to death. A Labour government solved that problem but, under the Tories and SNP, it’s back. And neither government is supporting Labour calls for a windfall tax on the oil and gas giants. They’re pulling out the pathetic excuse that it will hurt investment even though senior oil executives refute this.

Both governments are floundering to help in this crisis and their decisions are actually making the situation worse with the highest tax hikes in 70 years and increases in water rates, rail fares and council tax.

Most people will be staring at their increased energy bills, prices in the shops and their lower net pay printed on their pay slips, wondering how they will make ends meet.

No action and no plans from either government mean no hope for too many.

Never mind, at least we have a referendum to fight over – that’ll pay the bills.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South