Midlothian Council leader attacks Tories over cost of living crisis

Midlothian Council leader Kelly Parry has said the Tory government has “abandoned families and businesses” by refusing to use its reserved powers to deliver cost of living support.

It comes as the energy price cap is set to rise from £1,971 to £3,549 - with forecasts that household energy bills could hit an average £7,600 a year from next year.

Councilor Parry (SNP) said: “It’s unforgivable that Boris Johnson has spent all summer clinging onto power, and cashing his pay cheques, while refusing to do the basics of his job as Prime Minister.

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“This is also putting significant strain on council resources as energy bills, and other inflationary pressures, like the growing cost of PPP payments rise dramatically. This in turn will reduce the amount of money we have on hand to help people and fund core services, let alone the kind of vital services that we might need over the winter as the economic situation worsens and people struggle to find the means to eat or stay warm.

Midlothian Council leader Kelly Parry (SNP) pictured at the Loanhead Gala Day in 2019. Photo by Scott Louden.

“The Westminster government has ground to a halt and abandoned families and businesses by refusing to use its reserved powers to tackle the Tory-made cost of living crisis, despite admitting the UK is facing a state of emergency.

“Households need help right now - and many businesses are on the verge of closing their doors. Charities and community organisations are faring no better, with many wondering how they will get through the winter, let alone be in a position to help our most vulnerable Midlothian residents.

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"They can’t afford to wait weeks or months more, without knowing when, what or whether any meaningful support will come.

“Whilst Midlothian Councillors have spent the summer forming and convening a Cost of Living Crisis Taskforce, the UK Prime Minister has been caught with his trotters up on holiday.

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“The UK government must now stop passing the buck, reverse the energy price cap rise, and recall parliament immediately to deliver an emergency budget that provides the support people need - including scrapping VAT on fuel, doubling support for households, and introducing an energy price cap and grants for businesses and community organisations.

“The limited support currently available is a drop in the ocean compared to the tidal wave of soaring prices. With every day they fail to act, the Tories are demonstrating why Scotland needs to escape Westminster control and gain the full powers of independence.”

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In response to Cllr Parry’s comments, a Scottish Conservative Spokesman said: “The global cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on families and businesses across Midlothian and for many their worries are only increasing.

“It is imperative that both of Scotland’s governments work together to support people and businesses in Midlothian with rising bills.

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“The UK Government has already provided £37 billion worth of support in relation to the cost-of-living crisis, much of it targeted at the most vulnerable.

“However, much more will need to be done in the coming months and we will push both of Scotland’s governments to make every effort to mitigate this crisis.”