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by Kirsteen Paterson
17 August 2022
Freeze rents, cut fares: Anas Sarwar calls on Scottish Parliament to pass cost of living emergency Act

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar

Freeze rents, cut fares: Anas Sarwar calls on Scottish Parliament to pass cost of living emergency Act

The Scottish Parliament must ban winter evictions and slash train fares to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new plan from Labour.

Leader Anas Sarwar has today produced a package of measures he says must be the parliament's "first priority" when MSPs reconvene after summer recess.

The proposal for an Emergency Cost of Living Act includes measures to freeze rents, halve rail fares, cap bus costs and cancel school meal debt.

The Glasgow MSP said: "The cost-of-living crisis is a national emergency on the scale of the pandemic and dealing with it requires both of Scotland’s governments to move quickly and decisively.

"Instead we’ve seen silence from Boris Johnson and nothing of value from those squabbling to replace him.

"So while Labour propose a plan that would save families £1000 on their energy bills, Tories call for tax cuts for billionaires. But we’ve also seen little of substance from the SNP, ignoring the significant powers they have to act now.

"That is why Scottish Labour is calling for emergency legislation to be put before the Scottish Parliament now, as the starting point for a response to help people without delay."

Last week the Scottish Government said it is carrying out an emergency budget review in light of rising inflation and predicted recession. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also confirmed that she will hold talks with energy firms.

Sarwar's call comes after his party called on the Conservative UK Government to freeze energy prices for six months, support businesses in energy-intensive industries with a £1bn fund and end the premium paid for domestic customers on prepayment meters. In Scotland, this includes around 425,000 customers. 

Ivan McKee MSP said the Scottish Government is "having a look at all measures that could make an impact to address the current situation".

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