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by Kirsteen Paterson
08 August 2022
Nicola Sturgeon urges Boris Johnson to hold 'urgent' cost-of-living summit this week

The new prime minister of the United Kingdom, replacing incumbent Boris Johnson, will be announced on September 5

Nicola Sturgeon urges Boris Johnson to hold 'urgent' cost-of-living summit this week

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on Boris Johnson to call an emergency meeting with all heads of devolved government over the cost-of-living crisis.

In a letter to Johnson, Sturgeon said "the UK simply cannot afford to wait" until Johnson's suggested meeting date in September.

The FM said the PM and Heads of Devolved Government Council must meet this week to agree steps to help households amidst growing inflation and fears of recession.

The Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) will reconvene this week but Sturgeon told Johnson: "While we will continue to take all actions available to us within devolved responsibilities and budgets - and the Scottish Government is investing almost £3bn this year in a range of measures which will help address the cost-of-living pressures - it is a statement of fact that many of the levers which would make the biggest difference lie with the UK Government.

"It is also the case that only the UK Government can access and make available resources on the scale required. Therefore, actions by devolved governments alone - though important - will not be enough to meet the unprecedented challenges we face.

"Action is needed now to address significant gaps in help for households, in particular those on low incomes, who are increasingly vulnerable to the impact of rising household costs. however, it is also vital, given further increases to energy bills due to be announced later this month, that a substantial plan be developed now to avert and mitigate what will otherwise be a crisis of unprecedented proportions - a crisis in which many people will be unable to feed themselves and their families or heat their homes."

The call comes after Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, accused Johnson of being "missing in action". That's amidst the Conservative party leadership race, which is dominated by the economic question as Tory members prepare to vote on a replacement for Johnson.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said he expects the next PM to bring in a "support package" in an emergency budget, but that this will not happen until after they are in post.

Saying "people cannot wait several weeks" for this, Blackford called on Johnson to recall parliament.

But Scottish LibDem economy spokesperson Willie Rennie has accused Blackford of hypocrisy due to ongoing problems with the Scottish ferry network. Rennie said: "Ian Blackford is right to press the UK Government to recall parliament and act urgently on the cost-of-living crisis but it seems like the height of hypocrisy to be doing it while refusing to address the crisis in the Western Isles that his own party is directly responsible for. Frankly, it looks as if he is more concerned with securing a platform for bashing the UK Government than he is in the lives and livelihoods of island communities."

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