Cost-of-living: SNP and Greens call on Westminster to act over fears inflation will hit 18 per cent
Scottish Government partners the Greens and the SNP have called on the UK Government to take immediate action to deal with the cost-of-living crisis after investment bank Citi predicted that inflation could rise above 18 per cent in the first quarter of next year.
In a forecast released today, the bank’s chief UK economist Benjamin Nabarro said affordability concerns were "growing more deafening by the day", meaning inflation is likely to rise above the Bank of England’s forecast of 13 per cent by the end of this year.
"The question now is what policy may do to offset the impact on both inflation and the real economy," he said.
The SNP said the prediction means the UK Government must deliver a “pandemic-style level of support” to households while the Scottish Greens have called for “radical change” from Westminster.
SNP work and pensions spokesperson Kirsty Blackman said the UK Government’s response to the crisis “has been nothing short of shambolic”, adding that it is “time to act and act with haste”.
“These constant delays now mean we need to see a pandemic-style level of support delivered,” she said.
“This must include introducing an emergency budget, freezing the energy price cap, scrapping VAT on fuel, doubling energy bill support to families, and offering business energy price caps and small business energy grants.”
The Scottish Greens’ economy spokesperson Maggie Chapman called the cost-of-living crisis a “social emergency” and said that “without radical change the human cost will be brutal".
“The Tories are telling us that inflation is being caused by working people wanting the pay rises they are entitled to, yet prices are rising while wages are flatlining,” she said.
“The energy companies are making record profits while their customers are forced to choose between freezing and starving.
"That is why we are calling on the UK Government to reverse the energy cap rise that is doing so much damage, raise the minimum wage to a liveable wage and bring back the £20 Universal Credit uplift that they removed and then double it.”
Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell warned that people would “cost lives” over the winter if the government does not intervene.
“This is simply unsustainable for people who are hanging on by their fingertips right now, more big increases in prices and bills will drive people into poverty, debt and destitution,” he said.
“This cost-of-living crisis is going to cost lives without urgent and radical intervention from government on the scale of the 2020 pandemic or the 2008 financial crisis.
“People will freeze or starve unless they get help.”