What we’re doing to help families through the Tory cost of living crisis

Rishi Sunak’s Spring Budget showed a callous disregard for the misery people are facing across these islands, and that misery is only going to get worse because of Tory government inaction.

Rishi Sunak could have introduced an emergency package of support to help tackle this Tory cost of living crisis. Instead, he chose to squirrel away money for pre-election bribes – money that could be spent right now to help those in desperate circumstances.

While the Tories build up their election war chest, in Scotland the SNP Scottish Government is using its limited powers and resources to help families through the Tory cost of living crisis.

We’re increasing Social Security support

To help families facing the cost of living crisis, those receiving Social Security support will have their payments increased by up to 6% – double the increase offered by the UK government.

The Job Start Payment, Young Carer’s Grant, Funeral Support, Best Start Grant, Carer’s Allowance Supplement and Child Winter Heading Assistance will all rise by 6% while the Adult Disability Payment and the Child Disability Payment will rise by 3.1%.

Meanwhile, the game-changing Scottish Child Payment will be doubled to £20 a week from April, and then further increased to £25 a week by the end of 2022. We will also extend this support to under 16’s by the end of this year.

We’re working to tackle fuel poverty head on and make it more affordable to heat and power homes

Everyone needs a safe, warm place to call home. However, soaring energy prices will be causing people to worry about the cost of their bills and it is vital that people struggling with energy bills get the information and support they need.

To support households the SNP Scottish Government is boosting their energy efficiency programmes with more than £160 million of funding being invested.

We’re ensuring access to free and impartial support through Home Energy Scotland to improve the energy efficiency of homes, while widening the eligibility criteria of the flagship Warmer Homes Scotland fuel poverty programme to include more people within the 60 – 75 years age range.

And we’re investing £64 million in local schemes, targeting communities blighted by fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency, reducing costs and carbon emissions from heating homes.

We’re helping families and households with soaring living costs

While people are struggling with large rises in energy bills, increased costs on everyday essentials, rising interest rates and the UK Government’s National Insurance hike, we’re using our limited powers and resources to mitigate these costs as much as possible.

As part of the Scottish Government’s Council Tax reduction scheme, families will benefit from a £150 payment or discount in their council tax bills for all households in bands A to D, as will those in other bands who already qualify for reduced rates.

This means that means 73% of Scottish households – about 1.85 million people – will receive support from the Scottish Governments scheme.

We’re also investing a further £10 million to continue the Fuel Insecurity Fund helping households at risk having to turn off heating and electricity or limiting their energy use to keep bills to a minimum.

In addition, students facing financial hardship due to the Tory cost of living crisis and rising energy costs will be able to benefit from a £350 student loan uplift.

This means that the most disadvantaged students can access up to £8,100 per year. Care Experienced students will also be able to receive financial support through 12 monthly instalments.

Households in Scotland already receive the best deal in the UK

We’re using the limited powers and resources we have to ensure every household in Scotland can have a decent quality of life.

Through our progressive income tax system and budgeting decisions families already receive the best package of support compared with the rest of the UK. This includes:

  • No Prescription charges meanwhile each item is £9.35 in England
  • Free NHS eye tests which cost between £20-£25 in England.
  • We’re rolling out free NHS dental care in Scotland while individuals face up to £282.80 of charges for treatment south of the border.
  • Free personal care has been introduced in Scotland for those who need it and we’re introducing a National Care Service while families south of the border face paying up to £1,600 a week.
  • Free College and University Tuition, while students face up to £9,250 of fees per year in England.
  • Every child in Scotland receives a free baby box packed full of essentials to make sure every child has the best start in life.
  • Families in Scotland pay less on average in Council Tax compared to south of the border.

Only with the full powers of independence could we fully tackle this Tory cost of living crisis

Politics is about choices and how those in power choose to use the resources available to them to benefit the lives of people across the country. Rishi Sunak chose to do nothing in his spring budget.

The Chancellor’s failure to support families struggling with a cost of living crisis created and exaccerbated by his own UK Tory government, illustrates how out of touch the Westminster system is with ordinary working families.

The Chancellor could have used the powers he currently has to tackle this crisis instead he’s hiking taxes, cutting social security, and allowing energy firms to make excessive profits while households suffer.

Only with the full powers of independence, can we set a different path to that of Westminster – with control over National Insurance, Universal Credit, taxation, and the power to properly regulate energy prices and tariffs.