Thank you for taking my point of order, Presiding Officer.
For three successive days in the chamber, Government ministers have said on the record that they have provided £3 billion to tackle the cost of living crisis. That figure was repeated earlier today at First Minister’s question time, when the First Minister said:
“We have allocated almost £3 billion this year to help to mitigate the impact of increasing costs on households.”
I have challenged that figure various times, because research from the Scottish Parliament information centre has highlighted that it is misleading. In a blog that was published in July that looked at the detail behind the figure and provided a timeline for the policies included, SPICe said:
“All of the policies listed do help reduce costs for families and households in some way.” [
“But a list of measures announced specifically in response to the current increase in inflation would be quite a bit shorter.”
The blog goes on to say that many of the policies are pre-existing and predate the current cost of living crisis, which the blog has taken
“as beginning in October 2021”.
Further, the blog states:
“Of course it’s useful to set out how government policy reduces people’s costs but by that measure, you might include the entire social security system, the NHS and a lot more. So that’s not this list.”
The blog goes on to say:
“An alternative way of looking at measures ‘to help families and households face the increased cost of living’ would be to use October 2021 as the starting point for the ‘cost of living crisis.’ This is when energy price cap went up and CPI inflation was 4.2%.”
The blog says that looking at policies from that date onwards would produce a list of policies, the cost of which
“comes to around about £490m.”
Presiding Officer, I seek your guidance on what mechanisms are available to ensure that the Government does not mislead the chamber in the future.
The Presiding Officer:
I thank Ms Duncan-Glancy. That is not a matter for me to rule on from the chair. The content of contributions is normally a matter for members themselves. However, members will be aware that a mechanism exists whereby they can correct any inaccuracies in the