Emergency budget could increase Scottish Child Payment as Sturgeon says lives are at risk due to cost of living crisis
His comments preceded energy regulator Ofgem’s upcoming price cap increase on Friday, which the Prime Minister said should not be allowed.
The Scottish Government could also be set to increase the amount provided to families through the Scottish Child Payment as part of an emergency budget to increase support for families in Scotland, Business Minister Ivan McKee has said.
Labor leader Keir Starmer has also called for a freeze on energy bills to help ease pressure on household budgets and tackle runaway inflation, while Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar has called for legislation to emergency including a rent freeze to be enacted in Holyrood.
Both Tory leadership candidates have promised to help families with the cost of living once they reach Number 10.
Yesterday Ms Sturgeon called on the UK government to ‘take the action only it can’ and called the cost of living crisis a ‘imminent disaster’.
She said: “There is impending doom already unfolding but it will get worse.
“It will cause misery and devastation, it will cause loss of life if no real action is taken to stem this crisis.
“This further increase in people’s energy bills cannot continue because it prevents people from meeting basic needs for themselves and their families, but it also continues to fuel inflation, which , of course, is causing the problem in the first place.”
The SNP leader said the renationalisation of energy companies “should be on the table”, but said it was important to “focus on reality” and push the UK government into action.
She said: “Let’s focus on ways to get them to exercise the powers they campaigned to keep in their hands rather than constantly tossing the issues to a government that doesn’t have those powers.”
His business minister, Ivan McKee, said more money could be found for Scottish government benefits in a possible emergency budget.
Mr McKee said the UK government “holds most of the levers”, but the Scottish government has already increased benefits such as the Scottish Child Payment, which could be increased further.
“As we speak, the Scottish Government is looking at what we can do through an emergency budget to put more money into it and other arrangements we have in place to be able to support these families.
“Remember, none of this is in place south of the border.”
He added: ‘This is a hugely concerning situation, it’s a huge concern for families, it’s a huge concern for businesses.
“The solution approach to this has to be more than soundbites, it has to be concrete actions we can all take to make a difference and help businesses and families through this very, very difficult time.
“What we are asking the UK government immediately is not to implement the impending price cap increase and also, very importantly, to put in place a price cap for small and medium-sized businesses. .
“I’ve spoken to businesses…who are seeing their energy bills go from £10,000 to £45,000, it’s not viable for small businesses and it’s going to impact everyone across the country. economy.
Mr McKee said the Scottish Government’s position on whether nationalizing energy companies would be the right thing to do would soon be defined, but said all options “should be considered”.
He said there will be five or six other documents forming part of the Scottish Government’s updated independence prospectus, including one on energy.
However, he would not be drawn to the question of whether an independent Scotland would nationalize energy, pledging only that the country examine the possibility of doing so.
In a motion submitted to the Scottish Parliament on Friday, Scottish Labor MSPs called for “the bold use of existing taxing powers” to help tackle the cost of living crisis.
Backed by backbench MPs Alex Rowley, Foysol Choudhury, Monica Lennon, Paul Sweeney and Mercedes Villalba, the motion calls on the Scottish Government to ‘review tax arrangements’ to make ‘more creative and bold use of existing powers’ .
Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar has consistently accused the SNP of not using the powers it has to deal with crises.
On the cost of living crisis, he accused the government of “hiding money” which could be used to help those struggling.
He failed to pledge support for tax increases, however, saying he did not believe there was a need to raise income tax, instead saying that money could be found in existing expenditure which could then be diverted to local authorities.
Scottish Government figures show that a penny increase across all tax brackets would add an additional £463m to the Scottish budget.
A total of £150million would help pay for a pay rise of around 1% for those in the NHS, or around 1.5% for those in local government.
Income tax is the main revenue raising power available to the Scottish Government and was devolved following the defeat of the 2014 independence referendum.
A UK government spokesperson said: ‘We are offering a £400 rebate on energy bills this winter and £1,200 in direct support for the most vulnerable households.
“Although no government can control global gas prices, more than 22 million households are protected by the price cap which continues to protect households from even higher prices.”