Cost Crisis

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 29 September 2022.

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Photo of Elena Whitham Elena Whitham Scottish National Party

The First Minister will, no doubt, share my deep concern about research by KPMG that states that the cost crisis is forcing three in 10 people in the United Kingdom to rely on savings in order to afford basic necessities such as food, shelter and fuel. Does she agree that the Westminster Tory UK Government’s crashing of the economy can only make the situation worse, and that missing-in-action Prime Minister Liz Truss must ditch the policies from last week and think again?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

The issues could not be any more grave or serious. When we had exchanges at this time last week, it would have been very true—frighteningly true—to say that people were worried about being unable to heat their homes. That remains true. However, this week, people are also increasingly worried about their ability to keep their homes, because of what the Conservatives have done to the mortgage market, what they have done to the value of the pound and what they are doing to the economy in general. People are terrified about the cost of living, their mortgages, their ability to keep their homes and the security of their pensions.

All that comes from a UK Government decision to borrow vast amounts of money in order to give enormous tax cuts to the very richest people in our society. That is morally abhorrent and economically disastrous. In all sincerity, I call on the UK Government—if it does nothing else—to reverse its decision to abolish the cut in the top rate of tax and at least give a signal of a return to some common sense in its approach to economic policy.

Yesterday, as many people were, I was critical of the fact that the Prime Minister was missing in action. However, having heard her this morning, and watched the market reaction as she spoke, I say that perhaps we are all better off when the Prime Minister is missing in action than we are when she is out there talking about the disaster that she has inflicted on the country.