Cost-of-living support to be ‘front and centre’ of First Minister’s plans

·2-min read

Support to tackle the cost-of-living crisis will be “front and centre” of the Scottish Government’s plans for the next year, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister will lay out her government’s legislative agenda for the year ahead when Holyrood returns on Tuesday and the Programme for Government will be published.

The announcements come during a period of high anxiety for Scots as energy bills and household costs are on the rise.

But the First Minister also hit out at the UK Government, which she claimed was in “hibernation” as a result of the ongoing Tory leadership contest, with the winner due to be announced on Monday before taking office the following afternoon.

“On Tuesday, the Scottish Government will publish its Programme for Government for the year ahead, and tackling the cost crisis will be front and centre of our plans,” Ms Sturgeon said in a statement.

“The steps we outline this week will build on the actions we have already taken with the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament to support household budgets, such as the Scottish Child Payment, the Carers Allowance Supplement and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.”

She added: “However, the key levers in this crisis remain in the hands of the Tories at Westminster – a Government which has been in hibernation over the summer as the Tory faithful choose who will be the fourth prime minister in six years.

Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood
The First Minister will publish the Programme for Government on Tuesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Their inaction has caused huge anxiety for families and huge uncertainty for businesses. It has been a dereliction of duty which people will neither forgive nor forget.

“At this most crucial of times, we are in the situation of announcing our plans for the year ahead in an unprecedented cloud of Westminster uncertainty.

“We don’t know if and when an emergency budget may happen, whether Scotland’s block grant is going to be cut this year, or what other measures they may introduce – all of which could fundamentally affect our plans.”

The First Minister will seek to “work constructively” with the next prime minister, despite having traded attacks with both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak throughout the campaign.

She also claimed an independent Scotland could have passed an emergency budget, adding: “Instead we are left wrestling with meeting the challenges of fair pay, household hardship and rising costs for public services without the tools we need to tackle them.”