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UK recession: SNP says Scotland must 'escape Tory rule'

Nadhim Zahawi arrives at Downing Street in June

UK recession: SNP says Scotland must 'escape Tory rule'

Worsening cost-of-living crisis will cost lives, charity chief warns

Interest rate and energy price cap hikes "spell disaster" for tens of millions of households, the SNP claims.

Citizens Advice Scotland has warned "people are likely to die" this winter due to the economic chaos.

And the Scottish Greens claim the crisis is "driven by the total incompetence of Boris Johnson and his Tory colleagues".

This morning regulator Ofgem confirmed the energy price cap, which limits charges for customers, will be updated four times a year instead of the current rate of twice per year in response to rising costs.

And the Bank of England has confirmed a 1.75 per cent rise in interest rates, with inflation set to hit 13 per cent and a recession expected in the last three months of the year.

The energy price cap shot up by 54 per cent in April, and further rises expected in October will take average annual domestic bills to around £3,500.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has said the UK is "facing global economic challenges" and "addressing the cost-of-living is a top priority".

He said: "The economy recovered strongly from the pandemic, with the fastest growth in the G7 last year, and I'm confident that the action we are taking means we can also overcome these global challenges."

However, SNP depute Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said families are watching "in horror". She said: "This double-whammy will only exacerbate the economic fears households have, with wages stagnating and the prices of goods and services rapidly rising across the board.

"It's no coincidence that the UK is one of the hardest-hit countries in terms of energy bills - we're facing a Tory-made cost-of-living crisis that the Conservatives have been too mired in sleaze and scandal to sort out.

"With these changes we'll see households struggle even more, with saving obliterated and incomes threatened by a looming recession. 

"This will undoubtedly be a grim time for millions; we need real action and leadership."

She went on: "It begs the question [of] what exactly will finally shame the Tories into action. So far, it seems absolutely nothing, showing once again why Scotland needs to escape Tory rule with the full powers of independence."

The Supreme Court has set a date to consider the Scottish Government's ability to hold an advisory referendum on Scottish independence without Westminster permission.

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens finance spokesperson, slammed the Conservative government for "Britain being in a position so much worse than comparable economies" and said that a "reckless approach to Brexit and economic vandalism of Downing Street have taken a wrecking ball to our economy".

Turning to the Tory leadership contest, which will see either Liz Truss or ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak become prime minister, Greer stated: "Neither Liz Truss nor Rishi Sunak can bring the change that we so badly need. They have supported every single one of Johnson's failures, whether it is his disastrous Brexit deal, his cruel cuts to Universal Credit or his refusal to invest in renewable energy and reduce our dependence on gas. And now they're both determined to cut essential services even further while delivering tax cuts that disproportionately benefit their rich friends.

"Scotland has endured 12 painful years of Tory rule that we did not vote for. We cannot afford any more."

Meanwhile, Advice Direct Scotland has urged Scots to seek help now. Its director Conor Forbes said there are "incredibly challenging months ahead": "Bills are going to soar in October just as winter arrives, and we can expect further rises in January. The key advice to everyone in Scotland is not to struggle alone."

And Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said we are now at risk of "a legacy of debt, poverty and destitution for years and years to come". He said: "Some of the most vulnerable people across the UK this winter will face a choice between freezing and starving. That's the reality and we should not pretend otherwise.

"People are likely to die this winter because of this crisis unless we see urgent and radical action from policymakers."

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