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Nicola Sturgeon: Johnson and Sunak must ‘wake up’ to cost-of-living crisis

The First Minister’s comments came as the energy price cap increased by 54%.

01 April 2022

Both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak need to “wake up” to the cost of living crisis and offer more support, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking as the country experienced the biggest jump in domestic energy bills in living memory, the First Minister stressed the need for more financial aid to mitigate the increase.

Announced earlier this year, the 54% increase in the energy price cap came into effect on Friday.

Speaking at an event in Glasgow’s Queen Street Station to mark rail provider ScotRail coming into public hands, the First Minister told journalists: “I think we are facing a crisis right now for people across the country of a bigger magnitude than most of us have ever known in our lifetime.

“The Scottish Government doesn’t hold all the levers and resources here – we are doing, and will continue to do, all we can through the rebate on council tax, investing in the welfare fund and discretionary housing payments, introducing new mechanisms of financial support, the Scottish Child Payment, for example, is a key part of our response.

“But we need the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to wake up to this crisis and do much more to help people than has been done so far.”

Ms Sturgeon went on to say there will be people in the UK who, because of rising inflation, the national insurance hike and the energy cap, will not be able to eat well or heat their home adequately.

“We traditionally talk when we talk about poverty about people choosing between eating and heating,” she told journalists.

“There are people across the UK right now that will not be able to do either properly.”

She added: “The interventions of the UK Government thus far are woefully inadequate. So for the sake of the lives of people across the country, it is time to do more and to do it really quickly.”

A spokesperson for the UK Treasury said: “We know that people are concerned about the rising cost of living in the face of record global energy prices as we emerge from the pandemic.

“That is why we’ve acted to help support households in Scotland with their energy bills through our £200 rebate, which is part of our £22 billion of support to help with the cost of living.

“We have provided the Scottish Government with almost £300 million as a result of the council tax rebate in England which can be used to provide cost-of-living help to people in Scotland, on top of a record £41 billion per year settlement announced at the Spending Review – the largest settlement since devolution.

“We’ll continue to monitor how global events impact on energy bills here at home into the autumn and will consider further support if needed.”

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