Scotland’s two governments in Holyrood and Westminster are both “compounding the cost-of-living crisis”, Labour has claimed.
Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray accused both the SNP Scottish Government and the Conservative UK Government of not doing enough to help with the rising cost of living, as he called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to “act now”.
But the SNP defended its record of “mitigating” cuts north of the border, and it accused the Scotland Office of not “lifting a finger” to help Scots.
Edinburgh South MP Mr Murray told the Commons: “Inflation is at a 40-year high but in reality according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies today it is much higher for most households. The weekly shop, the energy bill, petrol for the car, taxes, all rising to the extent that 150,000 more Scots can’t pay their bills today.
“In 2022, too many children go to bed hungry or cold or both. The Chancellor keeps saying he stands ready to act but refuses an emergency budget. His acts so far have raised taxes to the highest in 70 years and dropped living standards by the highest amount since the 1950s.”
To jeers from the SNP, he added: “Scotland has two governments making decisions that are compounding the cost-of-living crisis. So can the Secretary of State tell us what he is doing to get the Chancellor to act if he is not acting now?”
Scotland minister Iain Stewart replied: “This isn’t an issue unique to the United Kingdom. I have already set out that the Chancellor has delivered £22 billion support for the people of this country, he is keeping a very close eye on the situation and will intervene where necessary.”
SNP Scotland spokesperson Mhairi Black said: “Let me say that the Scottish Government already spend over £1 billion mitigating the worst of Tory cuts. We are investing £770 million per year on the cost-of-living crisis, we are increasing Scottish benefits by 6%, doubling the Scottish child payment, mitigating the bedroom tax.
“Does he not agree it is about time his department lifted a finger?”
Mr Stewart replied: “My department is providing the Scottish Government with a record level of support – £41 billion. That is helping them to deliver the policies that she refers to.
“It might be able to do more if they hadn’t wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on ferries that don’t work, or the First Minister on an independence revival tour of the United States.”
Elsewhere in the debate, Scotland Secretary Alister Jack said the total funding for Scotland as the UK transitions from EU structural funds to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund has not been reduced.
SNP MP Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire) claimed Scotland had been “short-changed by the loss of EU funding”, but Mr Jack replied that new funding was “tapered with” EU structural funds.
He added: “The advantage of Brexit is we can now decide how we spend that money. We now have control over that money. But the amount of money in total has not in any way been reduced.”