Families Left Worse Off by Tory Budget Failure
The Tories’ latest budget has delivered the worst case scenario for Scotland’s finances and failed to live up to the challenges posed by the cost of living and climate crises.
Scotland needed a fair deal on investment for infrastructure, public services and pay deals, but the UK Government has let Scotland down on every count. This budget is simply far too little, far too late for the squeezed majority of households across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
After 13 years of Tory government, the soaring cost of household bills is still outpacing the limited help on offer from Westminster. To make matters worse, where support could have been introduced to ease household pressures Westminster has simply refused.
This UK government budget simply proves that Scotland is living under not just a cost-of-living crisis but a cost of Westminster crisis. As smaller, independent European countries like the Republic of Ireland are prospering with a over £56bn budget surplus, Scotland is forced to deal with the harmful inaction and failure of Westminster.
In an underwhelming budget, the Chancellor:
- Failed to introduce a £400 energy bill rebate for households, despite bills being around double what they were in 2021 and expected to rise yet again this week
- Failed to match the SNP government’s council tax freeze and Scottish Child Payment, which are putting thousands of pounds back in the pockets of families in Scotland
- Failed to introduce mortgage interest tax relief, despite many families paying thousands of pounds more in interest due to soaring rates
- Failed to take action to reduce food prices, despite countries like France intervening to help families with their grocery bills
- Failed to reverse real terms Tory cuts to public sector pay for millions of workers
The cut to National Insurance also shows the UK Government has the wrong priorities at the wrong time, depriving public services of vital funding. Shockingly, the health funding announced today represents an increase of less than 0.06% to Scotland’s health budget in 2023-24 of £19.138 billion.
While increases to the state pension and Local Housing Allowance are welcome, the increase to the minimum wage falls well short of the Real Living Wage. And the few positive measures for businesses come in the face of UK growth having been projected downwards as a result of Brexit and the UK Government’s mismanagement of the economy.
Where an independent Scotland could have used our enormous energy resources to help and support struggling households, Westminster has failed to deliver – showing why Scotland urgently needs the full powers of independence to boost incomes and grow our economy.
With UK energy bills, mortgages, rents and food prices soaring, the very limited measures in the Chancellor’s statement won’t touch the sides for most households who have seen their monthly costs go through the roof – and will still be hundreds of pounds worse off.
This is yet another con trick from a Tory government that trashed the UK economy, failed to match the SNP government’s council tax freeze and Scottish Child Payment, and has refused to devolve powers to the Scottish Parliament so the SNP can act where they won’t.
The Autumn Statement was also a chance to fund efforts to cut the UK’s carbon emissions, but it did not. It’s not enough for the UK Government to say they support measures to encourage more renewable energy developments and expand the UK’s electricity grid need. It needs to be matched with funding to actually deliver and help us meet our net zero targets.
But the UK economy is trapped in a vicious cycle of poor growth, stagnant wages and rising poverty as a result of Brexit and Tory cuts, and neither Rishi Sunak nor Keir Starmer will change course from the damaging Westminster policies that got the UK into this mess.
Scotland needs the full powers of independence. Independent European countries like Scotland are wealthier and fairer than the UK – so the question is: why not Scotland?