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Immediate support needed to help households struggling with cost-of-living crisis, says Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry as new report warns more will slide into destitution

By Val Sweeney

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Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry.
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry.

Immediate support is needed from the UK Government as households struggle with the cost-of-living crisis, according to Inverness MP Drew Hendry.

Mr Hendry made his call as a new report issued a stark warning that around 1.5 million households across the UK will struggle to pay for their food and energy bills.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) report also highlighted that more than 250,000 households will "slide into destitution" next year, pushing the total number in extreme poverty to around 1.2 million unless the UK government takes serious action now.

The NIESR has now said that Rishi Sunak "should provide emergency support to cushion this income shock."

Mr Hendry, the SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey, has been urging the UK Government to act to help hard-pushed families, including bringing forward a bill to curb fuel charges to off-grid gas households.

"This damning report lays the situation out for all to see – 1.5 million households will struggle to pay for their food and energy bills, and around a further quarter of a million households are at risk of sliding into destitution," Mr Hendry said.

He said there was nothing in this week's Queen's Speech at the state opening of Parliament to help families.

"There was nothing to help with skyrocketing food and energy prices, nothing to put money into people's pockets, and nothing to mitigate the impact of an ever-damaging Brexit," he said.

"Many people are left without anywhere to turn – they just cannot make ends meet.

"Immediate support is needed. The Chancellor should start with converting the £200 energy loan into a more generous grant, scrapping the regressive National Insurance tax hike and reversing the £1040 cuts to Universal Credit.

"They need to introduce a Real Living Wage, reduce or remove VAT on household energy bills, and follow the Scottish Government's 6 per cent uprating of benefits.

"This is the very least this Tory Government needs to do to start fixing the cost of the living crisis they have imposed on families and folk living on their own.

"It is becoming ever more evident to people that Westminster isn't working for them or their family."

Courier petition calling for end to unfair electricity charges handed in to Downing Street

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