Scottish and UK governments’ cost-of-living support ‘inadequate’ – survey

·3-min read
Families are having to cut back on items such as food to save money, the survey suggests (PA) (PA Wire)
Families are having to cut back on items such as food to save money, the survey suggests (PA) (PA Wire)

The UK and Scottish governments have not done enough to help with the cost-of-living crisis, a survey has found, as the vast majority of the public express anxiety over soaring prices.

The survey by the David Hume Institute and the Diffley Partnership reveals a “bleak” picture when assessing the country’s economic outlook.

The Understanding Scotland poll, which surveyed 2,227 Scots, found 87% believed an economic crisis, including a recession and rising inflation, is looming.

And more than nine in 10 respondents expect it to get worse before it gets better.

Financial pressures and anxiety at soaring prices are widespread across society, but particularly acute for those who are already most vulnerable

Mark Diffley, Diffley Partnership

The UK and Scottish governments’ responses were deemed inadequate – by 89% and 73% respectively – as a quarter of respondents said they have had to skip meals to save money.

The UK Government said eight million vulnerable households will benefit from further support.

And Scots (80%) are cutting down on leisure and non-essential items as the crisis deepens, the survey showed.

Particular hostility towards energy companies is noted, with 95% of those surveyed saying firms have done too little to help with rising costs.

Ofgem has announced the energy price cap will rise to £3,549, while inflation has reached 10.1%.

Two in five people have depleted their savings, according to the survey, while more than a third (35%) have accumulated debt or borrowed money, rising to 44% in the most deprived communities.

Mark Diffley, founder and director of the Diffley Partnership, said: “It is unusual to see the public mood being so unambiguously bleak.

“Financial pressures and anxiety at soaring prices are widespread across society, but particularly acute for those who are already most vulnerable.

“Across all demographic groups, and especially in more deprived communities, a clear majority are saying that the response to date from the UK and Scottish governments alike are simply not enough.”

We need a concentrated package of targeted support, and we need it now

Susan Murray, David Hume Institute

And while the vast majority said they believed their wages should rise in line with inflation, just one third are comfortable asking their employer for a rise and far fewer – 7% – have done so.

Women, young people and part-time workers, who are already more likely to be in low-paid positions, are especially uncomfortable with the request.

Susan Murray, director of the David Hume Institute, said: “Since we started this survey, sadly most people have seen their financial situation deteriorate.”

She added: “We need a concentrated package of targeted support, and we need it now.”

We know people are concerned about rising prices, which is why we are delivering £1,200 extra support to eight million of the most vulnerable households in the UK this year

UK Government spokesperson

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We know people are concerned about rising prices, which is why we are delivering £1,200 extra support to eight million of the most vulnerable households in the UK this year.

“Through our £37 billion support package we are also saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut in July, allowing people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more of what they earn and cutting fuel duty by 5p, saving a typical family £100.”

The Scottish Government has also been allocated £41 billion over three years, the spokesperson said.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government is doing everything possible within our limited powers and fixed budget to help address the cost-of-living crisis – however, most of the key policy levers are held by the UK Government, which needs to take urgent action.

“We have allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year that will contribute towards mitigating the increased costs crisis, including the provision of services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK, such as the Scottish Child Payment.”