Nicola Sturgeon's SNP and Boris Johnson's Tories are both failing to tackle growing cost-of-living crisis – Ian Murray MP

While much of the country is about to spend all the income from their jobs on their energy bills, the Prime Minister is spending all his energy trying to save his job.

By Ian Murray
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 4:55 am
Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson need to act on rising energy prices (Picture: Duncan McGlynn/PA)
Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson need to act on rising energy prices (Picture: Duncan McGlynn/PA)

Parliament continues to be paralysed by Boris Johnson’s refusal to go, yet people across Scotland are facing a sharp rise in cost of living, with food bills rising and energy bills set to soar.

This comes as the Bank of England looks to make mortgages and borrowing more expensive and the energy regulator, Ofgem prepares to announce the raising of the energy price cap, revealing an enormous hike in bills for every household in Scotland.

Across the UK, families suffering from fuel stress will treble come April, yet we have two governments sitting on their hands.

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Don’t be mistaken, this hasn’t come out of the blue, it’s not because of global trends that we’re experiencing a whirlwind of rocketing energy prices, record inflation and an unprecedented cost of living crisis but a decade of Tory and SNP economic stagnation that Covid has merely shone a light on.

And without state action, the human fallout of all this will be dire.

Under Labour’s fully costed plans, we would give a saving of £200 for every household in Scotland. And £600 for the 815,000 households hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

That’s proper action on the cost-of-living crisis for those both on and off the energy grid.

I was shocked that the SNP didn’t back our plans in a House of Commons’ vote on Tuesday. Why are Scotland’s two governments refusing to act to help Scots with spiralling energy costs?

As with the paralysis in both Westminster and Holyrood, SNP ministers are obsessed by what gets them out of bed in the morning – independence – rather than the real, everyday issues of Scots.

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Those with young children might wonder why the SNP government has not listened to charities and Scottish Labour, and increased the Scottish Child Payment to £40 per week.

Such a move would lift 80,000 Scottish children out of poverty and the First Minister could do it tomorrow.

While the SNP dither and delay with their eyes fixed on another referendum, Labour is proposing genuine action that would help families pay their bills over this most difficult year.

We are demanding they help struggling families now by deferring eye-watering rises to rail fares and water charges and fully fund councils so they are not forced to raise Council Tax as a result of savage funding cuts. Decisions by this government are paid for by Scottish families.

That is the difference that Labour can, and will, make in power.

With working people facing the triple whammy of increased energy bills, food shopping and higher prices generally, we need both governments working together and focussed on that rather than their own pet projects and personalities.

More than three dozen UK polls in a row have shown Labour ahead of the Tories.

The SNP is right to oppose Boris Johnson and the Tories. But Labour can do so much more than oppose them: we can replace them.

And, with the support of people in Scotland and across the United Kingdom, that is exactly what we plan to do.

Ian Murray MP is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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