The Cost of Living Crisis
Scottish households are facing an unprecedented challenge when it comes to the cost of living.
Between 2015 & 2019 energy prices in Scotland increased by an estimated 40%. They are now set to rise by another £700 for every household which risks pushing a quarter of Scottish households into fuel poverty.
The UK Government has cut Universal Credit by £20/week.
The cost of food has been rising with many essentials now priced at more than double what they were at this time last year. These increases are set to continue.
The UK Government is now increasing taxes via National Insurance payments, starting in April this year.
Many of these factors in the increasing cost of living could have been avoided, had the Scottish Government acted on the various electoral mandates for a second independence referendum. But one thing is clear, time is not on our side. The Scottish Government must act now to prevent Scottish households being plunged further into debt.
- The ALBA Party calls on the Scottish Government fund a 50% reduction in household energy bills immediately.
Freezing Council Tax Across Scotland
In response to the ALBA Party's call for an additional £135M funding for Local Authorities, the Scottish Government identified £120M for councils across Scotland.
Without mainstreaming this funding on a recurring basis, Councils may still take the decision to raise Council Tax, adding to the already enormous cost of living crisis.
The Scottish Government need to act now:
- The ALBA Party calls on the Scottish Government to provide the full £135M to Councils, the equivalent of a 4.5% increase of Council Tax, in order to guarantee a Scotland-Wide Council Tax Freeze for all households.
ALBA Party Leader Alex Salmond:
“When Scotland previously faced financial pressures after the financial crash we successfully managed to fund a Council Tax freeze for several years under challenging circumstances.
“Since the Council Tax Freeze ended we have already seen most Councils increase Council Tax over and above inflation.
“People are now facing unprecedented challenges and extra pressures due to the Coronavirus, however this year energy bills and other household bills are going to increase at a rate which are completely unaffordable for many families.
“If the decision is made to drop increases in Council Tax through letter boxes this Spring alongside rises in energy bills we will see many people pushed into poverty and many families unable to pay these costs. That is why we are calling for a Scotland-wide freeze on Council Tax.”
“Taken together with our 5 point plan to tackle child and family poverty, as well as our call to reduce household energy bills, these are the policies that are needed immediately to stop an imminent cost of living crisis.”
ALBA's Five Point Plan to tackle child and family poverty
- 1. Introduce an Annual £500 payment to assist half a million low earnings households in Scotland 🏠
- 2. Increase the Scottish Child Payment to £40 per week for 400,000 children in quarter of a million households 🧒
- 3. Extend free school meals to all primary and secondary pupils in Scotland 🍎
- 4. Double the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) from £30 to £60 for 16-19 year olds in school and college 📚
- 5. Introduce universal access to sports facilities for all children and young people under 18 ⚽️