DREW HENDRY: Westminster should reinstate the £400 energy bills support this winter to help Highland homes
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In the past weeks, I have been appointed to a new role as the SNP’s Westminster economy spokesperson. It’s a poignant moment for me to be leading on economic issues as we grapple with the escalating cost-of-living crisis.
This winter, we’re all going to see our energy bills climb again as the heating has to go on. It’s a tough pill to swallow at the best of times, but this year, it’s more alarming than ever.
Polls of parents and carers, carried out by YouGov, revealed that eight out of 10 say the cost-of-living crisis is negatively impacting their families – that’s well up on last year too.
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No surprise then that research from the Resolution Foundation forecasts that 300,000 people across the UK will soon fall into absolute poverty.
You might have heard the UK government celebrating the recent wage growth figures (something that always must follow rampant inflation), but even with these new figures, this parliament is still the worst on record when it comes to wage growth. While they cheer, families struggle, especially when wages have not kept pace with the sky-rocketing costs of basic essentials.
The affected people are our families, friends and neighbours. They are often the hard-working individuals that this government should be striving to support, as well as those most vulnerable. Yet, time and again, we see a Westminster government failing to provide real solutions.
They need to take emergency action and quickly.
A first step would be reinstating the £400 energy bills support this winter. That would provide some help to millions at the stroke of a pen from the Chancellor, yet he drags his heels on this and other measures. No support to help people with soaring mortgages whilst banks post record profits, and no deals, like those in EU countries, to keep supermarket prices down.
The consequence is that people rack up debt, feel insecure and cut back on essentials.
Whilst he does nothing, it is only right that mortgage providers, for example, make things as manageable as possible for people, so if you are worried about this or other issues, please get in touch.
Depending on your situation, I may be able to steer you to help.
People should be kept warm this winter, but when it comes to political heat, I’ll be applying this to the UK government to demand that real and meaningful action is taken to help.