Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has accused the UK and Scottish Governments of failing to do enough to help tackle the current cost of living crisis.

Thousands of families, business and local charities across the south of Scotland are living under serious pressure due to huge rises in energy bills, fuel prices and almost all household costs.

Scottish Labour has called for emergency legislation to be the Scottish Parliament’s first priority to help deal with the cost of living crisis.

The party’s plan includes calls for a winter evictions ban, a rent freeze, cancelling school meal debt, halving rail fares and capping the cost of bus journeys.

It also would include additional cash for “bridging payments” for children in receipt of free school meals and support for businesses.

In the UK Parliament Labour has called for a freeze in the energy price cap- paid for by a windfall tax on the extra profits being made by big oil and gas companies.

Colin Smyth said: “The cost of living crisis is a national emergency on the scale of the pandemic – and dealing with it requires both of Scotland’s governments to be far more decisive.

“A day rarely goes by now when I’m not contacted by families, businesses or local charities under huge amounts of pressure as their bills skyrocket and yet our Governments have been asleep at the wheel with a complete lack of help.

“We need immediate action and that’s why Scottish Labour is calling for emergency legislation to be brought forward when Holyrood reconvenes next week.

“Our plan sets out areas where Holyrood can act urgently to help people now – and it could be passed as an Emergency Cost of Living Act when the Scottish Parliament returns.

“While bills spiral and wages struggle to keep up with inflation, the SNP has the power to help people but they’ve failed to take it.

“From freezing rising rents to supporting struggling businesses, we need to act now to bring down bills.”

Across the UK, Labour has called for the Tories to wake up to the crisis facing households and act to help people by:

  • Freezing energy prices for six months, saving a typical household £1,000.
  • Ending the premium paid for energy by around 425,000 customers in Scotland who use prepayment meters.
  • Extending energy bills support to all off-grid households – offering help to up to 217,000 Scottish households.
  • Supporting businesses in energy-intensive industries with a £1 billion fund.

Colin Smyth added: “At Westminster, we’ve seen silence from Boris Johnson and nothing of value from those squabbling to replace him.

“So, while Labour propose a plan that would save families £1000 on their energy bills, Tories call for tax cuts for billionaires.

“People across the UK deserve better than two governments trivialising our politics and ignoring the issues that matter, while they bicker.”

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