Finance secretary Kate Forbes calls for urgent cost of living action
People and businesses need urgent UK Government support to mitigate the rising cost of living, finance secretary Kate Forbes has said.
In a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak ahead of the Spring Statement, Ms Forbes called on UK Ministers to match the 6% uprate on social security benefits which the Scottish Government is delivering on eight of the benefits it delivers, and for further payments to be made to low income households through the Cold Weather Payment
The letter to the UK Government also calls for more targeted funding to business sectors directly affected by the conflict in Ukraine, relief to business on National Insurance Contributions and the removal of VAT from energy efficient and zero emission heat equipment and products.
The finance secretary has also called for greater powers for the Scottish Government to work with employers to implement flexible working, the full replacement of EU funding lost to Scotland as a result of Brexit, as promised by the UK Government.
The Scottish Government has said it stands ready to work with the UK Government, which holds the powers to tackle the most pressing issues, to put a package of support in place.
Ms Forbes said: “In Scotland we are doing all we can to ensure people, communities and businesses are given as much support as possible to deal with the rising cost of living and the potential economic implications of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
“However, many of the powers required to really tackle these issues are reserved to the UK Government, which is why I am calling on the Chancellor to take much needed action in his Spring Statement.”
She added: “The Scottish Government is uprating eight Scottish benefits by 6% from 1 April as well as doubling our Scottish Child Payment from £10 per week per eligible child to £20. We are using our powers to help those who need us most in these difficult times and it is time for the UK Government to follow our lead and uprate social security benefits by 6%.
“I would also ask for further immediate support to be delivered through the Cold Weather Payment, with an additional payment now and another next winter when we know energy bills will have risen again.”