Brexit is making families in Rutherglen and Hamilton West poorer

There’ll be many things on voters’ minds in this coming by-election. Public services, education and the denial of Scottish democracy – all things I’ve been hearing on the doorstep.

But far and away the thing I’m hearing most is voters’ frustration with the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis. Families have never had the finances squeezed so much and Westminster’s intransigence only serves to make the problem worse.

It’s never been clearer that Brexit is fuelling the UK’s cost-of-living crisis and making households in Rutherglen and Hamilton West poorer.

Since Westminster ignored Scotland’s clear desire to stay in the EU, we have been subjected to the hardest of Brexits, stifling innovation and flattening economic growth. Against all the evidence, Labour has gleefully backed the Tories’ misadventure with the UK’s finances.

Keir Starmer has sold Scotland out by supporting a hard Tory Brexit he previously claimed to have opposed. A Brexit which has taken billions of pounds from Scotland’s economy, cut EU funding in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, and cost families hundreds of pounds by increasing inflation, mortgage rates and food prices.

Our SNP candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Councillor Katy Loudon, challenged Labour’s Michael Shanks to explain why the Labour Party supports the Tories’ devastating Brexit, given he previously quit the party over the issue.

In 2019, Labour’s candidate warned the party had “a bankrupt approach to our membership of the EU and is complacent about the impact it will have on the poorest people across the UK”.

Since then, the Labour’s support for Brexit has become even more extreme. Keir Starmer has admitted that the Labour Party now fully supports Brexit and has ruled out any return to the EU, the single market and freedom of movement, saying that under a UK Labour government “there’s no going back into the EU. There’s no going back into the single market.”

That shameful decision has cost Scotland billions of pounds, cut EU financial support for South Lanarkshire, and increased household mortgage bills, rents and food prices to unacceptable levels.

This proves what Scotland has known all along; Labour just don’t get it.

They don’t understand that keeping the Tories’ heinous welfare cuts doesn’t make them look stronger; it makes families poorer. They can’t comprehend that u-turning on green investment isn’t a sensible sign to the markets; it’s an embarrassing sign of how fickle Labour’s leadership really is.

And they don’t realise that defending Brexit doesn’t win votes – it shows they don’t understand the needs of Scotland’s economy.

Leading economists, including former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, have warned Brexit is the reason the UK has higher and more stubborn inflation than the EU – driving up mortgage rates, food prices and the cost of living.

Analysis from the House of Commons Library shows the UK has higher mortgage rates, and higher home and car insurance inflation, than our European neighbours.

And research from LSE shows Brexit has already added £7billion to UK food bills – with households £250 worse off on average.

It’s blindingly obvious that Brexit is hurting families and exacerbating the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis. So why won’t Labour stand up for what they used to believe was right?

It’s clear only the SNP are willing to take the tough decisions when it comes to Scotland’s economy, and say what needs to be said. The SNP is the only party offering an escape from Britain’s Brexit nightmare with independence.

Katy Loudon is the only candidate that will stand up for Scotland’s interests in the face of this Westminster-made cost-of-living crisis.

A vote for the SNP at the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election is a vote to reject Brexit and tackle the cost of living, delivering for Scotland.