A ‘Missed Opportunity’ for Meaningful Action
Graeme has criticised the UK Government’s Spring Budget statement as falling far short on vital help for households, businesses and public services through the cost of living crisis.
The Scottish Government has accused the Chancellor of the Exchequer of failing to deploy the full range of powers available to him to mitigate the impact of soaring energy prices and high inflation.
While welcoming a number of individual measures such as the extension of the energy price guarantee – with a typical household’s energy bills set to rise by almost a third in April – the SNP has said that substantive actions such as restoring the Universal Credit uplift were notably absent.
The Scottish Government is calling for the inflation-proofing of its own budget, so that it can better co-ordinate spending across Scotland.
While wholly expected, this UK Government Budget is deeply disheartening in its inadequacy for the moment.
Once again we have a Tory Chancellor taking the bare minimum action to address a cost-of-living crisis that is in large part of his government’s making.
Households in Scotland will suffer while the Scottish Government lacks the levers to do what Westminster refuses to.
While the SNP in government will do everything that it can do under devolution to support people and businesses, the very real and damaging impacts of devolution’s limitations are all too evident here.
👇 Tories could have followed SNP plans in the #Budget2023 and saved families £1,400 by cutting energy bills.
❌ Instead households will now be paying £67 more per month on energy bills because Tories are axing vital support for families.
🏴 Scotland deserves better. pic.twitter.com/5l0M06USuk
— The SNP (@theSNP) March 15, 2023
– Deputy First Minister, John Swinney
This UK Budget is another missed opportunity to take meaningful action to lift families out of poverty, invest in our public services and help businesses so that our economy can grow.
Instead, the UK Government should have taken more substantive action to increase the Scottish Government’s budget so we can better align spending and deliver for people and organisations right across Scotland.
While reversal of the planned increase in the energy price guarantee is welcome, with the end of the energy bills support payments, average household monthly bills will still rise by almost a third in April, at a time when wholesale energy costs are falling.
Rising interest rates combined with reduced support means some people are expected to experience a larger fall in living standards this coming year than they have over the last 12 months.
An uplift on Universal Credit and extending this to legacy benefits would have made a meaningful difference to households struggling to make ends meet.
The limited additional money for the Scottish Government’s Budget is welcome but will not go far enough and in the long-term our capital funding will fall in real-terms. Without extra funding, we will have to find money from within the Scottish Budget to invest in public services, provide fair pay rises and help people with the cost of living.
The Scottish Government is doing what it can with its limited powers to ensure people receive the help they need, but the UK Government’s could have done far more to ease the burden affecting so many, demonstrating yet again why Scotland needs the powers of independence.
👇 After 13 years of Tory cuts, Brexit damage and economic mismanagement, @StewartHosieSNP lays bare the pathetic failure of this Tory budget.
⚡️ Cuts to vital energy support
💷 Failure to support fair pay deals
🧓 Increasing the pension age
🔋 Failure to make green investment pic.twitter.com/Xyd2HOo3Im
— The SNP (@theSNP) March 15, 2023
In a letter to the Chancellor ahead of the Spring Budget, the Deputy First Minister had urged specific measures to help households, invest in public services and support the economy to grow – including reinstating the uplift to Universal Credit and providing tax incentives for businesses.
Ahead of the UK Budget, the Resolution Foundation estimated that typical incomes among non-pensioner households will fall by 4% in 2023-24 in real terms, compared to 3% in 2022-23.