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NEWLANDS CALLS FOR BOLD BUDGET ACTION


A Renfrewshire MP has urged the UK Government use the forthcoming budget to outline support to households hit by the cost of living crisis.


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will unveil his Spring Budget next Wednesday, his second since taking the job on.


And Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, called for “bold measures” to help address the cost of living crisis and get financial support into the hands of hard-pressed households.


With Scotland in the middle of another cold snap, fears are growing that energy bills are becoming even more unaffordable, with those on pre-payment meters forced to self-disconnect.


And inflation remains at 40-year highs, with the cost of food rising by nearly 17% over the last year and housing approaching 12% annual increases.


Meanwhile pay increases are lagging behind at around half that figure.


The current Energy Bill Support Scheme ends soon with the final payments being made this month, and no sign of an extension or replacement for the scheme, which has provided £400 to anyone with an electricity supply over the winter period.


Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found 90% of low-income households on Universal Credit are currently going without essentials such as food, utilities and vital household goods.


And the SNP man has implored the UK Government to act to protect households.


Gavin said:


“Despite the Tories sticking their head in the sand over the cost of living crisis, millions of households across Scotland are still facing huge pressures on their finances.


“The Chancellor has an opportunity next week to provide real help with real cash, and ease those pressures for those who can least afford them.


“These are extraordinary times, and I want to see bold measures that at least grasp the enormity of what people up and down the land are facing.


“We need a budget that puts the needs of normal people first, not giving away even more of our wealth to millionaire Tory donors.


“In Scotland we’ve shown what we can do with the limited powers at our disposal, through measures like the Scottish Child Payment, Baby Boxes, free early years learning and childcare, the new Winter Heating Payment, free prescriptions, free concessionary bus travel, and much more – all making a positive difference in people’s pockets.


“It’s time the UK followed suit and invested in the people of this country – or get out of the way of a Scottish Government that wants a fairer society, and give Scotland the choice to choose a better future.”


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