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The UK Government have been condemned as, “fiddling while society burns”, by a Renfrewshire MP.

SNP man Gavin Newlands made the claim as the Chancellor announced details of his spring statement.

Inflation hit 6.2% on the same day as the statement and is now forecast to hit 7.4% over the course of this year.

Calls had been made for the Chancellor to take bold action over the growing cost of living crisis.

But campaigners were left disappointed when the main measures were announced as a 5p cut in fuel duty and reduced VAT on energy efficiency spending, as well as changes to National Insurance thresholds.

And there was no word on uprating pensions and benefits, leaving millions falling into further poverty following his £1,000 cut to Universal Credit last year.

The lack of action was highlighted by the SNP man as more details emerged of the implications of the statement.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP said:

“The Chancellor’s statement was an insult to every household in the country who are struggling in the face of the cost of living crisis.

“This was not just a missed opportunity by the Government but a sign of the contempt they appear to hold ordinary people in.

“They have fallen short yet again of even the low expectations we have of them and seem happy to see millions of people struggle over these coming months as the cost of living spirals out of control.

“Reducing fuel tax by a few pence and making loft insulation marginally cheaper isn’t going to protect families from the huge rises in food costs and energy prices.

“He announces changes to the National Insurance thresholds while continuing with a 10% increase in rates for everyone full-time worker in Scotland, and increase pensions by a pittance just months after cutting Universal Credit by over £1,000 a year.

“There can’t be a person in the country who hasn’t been affected by the rise in living expenses over recent months, yet the UK Government’s response is to fiddle while our society burns.

“While the Scottish Government raise support to the most vulnerable in society by 6% to try and match the rise in living costs, the UK are leaving millions of sick and disabled people behind with their miserly response.

“The Tory party have been happy shovelling Russian gold into its campaign coffers, but it can’t find the money to support ordinary people who are being harmed by these extraordinary price rises.

“It’s clear that Scotland is being dragged into penury by a Westminster government that simply doesn’t care about your living standards – unless you’re a Russian billionaire.”


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