The Scottish Government’s Resilience Committee will be meeting weekly to enable actions to be taken to alleviate the cost of living crisis affecting millions of Scots in rising food, fuel and energy prices.
Whilst the powers to deal effectively with the disastrous situation the UK economy is now in are in the hands of the Tory Government, there are steps being taken by the Scottish Government to try and direct support where it is most needed. These are :
- to extend the eligibility of the Scottish Child Payment and to increase its value.
- an emergency budget review. This will see if there is anywhere funds out of Scotland’s fixed budget from London that can be redirected.
- all options within devolved powers will be considered for regulatory action to limit increases in costs for people, businesses and other organisations
- a bringing together of energy companies, banks and food retailers to examine what further help can be provided by these businesses to limit cost increases and protect those most vulnerable
- working with partners to strengthen the safety net of emergency food/fuel provision, prioritising a ‘cash first’ approach
- providing further advice to households on using energy more efficiently and reducing consumption
Small steps to deal with an enormous issue but while there is no action coming from the UK Government, at least there is something being done in Scotland to try and protect those most at risk from these appalling price rises.
Commenting, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“It is clear that the UK currently faces a rapidly escalating emergency that goes beyond simply the cost of living and is now a more general cost of everything crisis. This emergency may be of a different nature to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is on a similar scale.
“In the absence of substantial and urgent action, this emergency will cause acute deprivation and suffering. It will affect access to practical necessities for millions of people across the UK. Bluntly, it will cost lives.
“To illustrate the severity of the situation, the Scottish Government estimates that, even with current UK Government mitigations, at least 700,000 households in Scotland – 30% of all households – will be living in extreme fuel poverty by October. That number could be even higher, if the Ofgem price cap for October 2022 is above £2,800.
“It is essential, therefore, that the response from government at every level is commensurate, in scale and speed, to the nature and magnitude of the emergency.
“In developing a response, governments must first and foremost address immediate need. We must all focus on supporting individuals, businesses and jobs by addressing the principal root causes of the problem.
“Scottish Ministers are clear that the powers and resources needed to tackle this emergency on the scale required – access to borrowing, welfare, VAT on fuel, taxation of windfall profits, regulation of the energy market – lie with the UK Government. This is reflected in the actions we have proposed and set out today.
“At the same time, the Scottish Government will continue to do everything within our resources and powers to help those most affected.”
Poverty Alliance have produced a downloadable leaflet explaining about The Scottish Child Payment from Social Security Scotland, download a copy by clicking this link.