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PM accused of ‘scapegoating’ Bank of England after mini-budget economic turmoil

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford made the claim at Prime Minister’s Questions.

12 October 2022

The Prime Minister has been accused of “scapegoating” the governor of the Bank of England in order to save Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng from the impact of the mini-budget.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford made the claim at Prime Minister’s Questions, and warned Liz Truss that people across the UK were no longer just worried about heating their homes, but keeping their homes as mortgage rates rise.

The claim came as economic turmoil continued in the wake of the mini-budget, with the Bank of England confirming that its emergency bond-buying scheme to help pension funds will close on Friday.

The cost of Government borrowing increased on Wednesday while sterling fell against the euro and dollar in the latest signs of market turbulence.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)

At the first PMQs following the party conference recess, Mr Blackford told the Commons: “When the Prime Minister last stood at the despatch box, the average two-year fixed rate mortgage stood at 4.5%, they are now at 6.5% and rising, hitting average families with an extra £450 a month on mortgage payments every single month over and above what they were paying.

“Thirty-seven days into the job, this is literally the cost of the Prime Minister’s incompetence. It is the price households are paying and all because of a Chancellor that she chose.

“Will she now give up her desperate plan to save her Chancellor’s skin by scapegoating the governor of the Bank of England?”

The Prime Minister replied: “The action we have taken has meant that families in Scotland and across the United Kingdom are not facing gargantuan energy bills.”

Ms Truss called on the SNP to support efforts to build more nuclear power stations and to extract more natural gas from the North Sea, in order to “help deliver on a more secure energy future for all of our people”.

In response, Mr Blackford said: “If she wants to ask us questions, we can swap places.

“The reality is that the Prime Minister is ignoring the damage and the chaos of the mini-budget.

Prime Minister Liz Truss departs 10 Downing Street, Westminster, London, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament
Prime Minister Liz Truss departs 10 Downing Street, Westminster, London, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“She is worrying about saving the Chancellor’s job, but many families are now worried not just about heating their homes, but keeping their homes, Prime Minister.

“The only thing growing under this Government are mortgages, rents and bills. Is that what she really meant when she declared herself a pro-growth Prime Minister?”

Ms Truss replied again that the Government had “taken action on helping families heat their homes” and noted that interest rates were rising globally.

The Prime Minister also defended her Government’s growth plan, adding: “I want to do all I can to help families across Britain and the way we are going to help them is by delivering economic growth by making sure we have the jobs and opportunities in Scotland and right across the UK.”

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