West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has slammed the UK government for failing to tackle the cost-of-living crisis facing local residents following the Autumn Budget Statement.
The SNP MP welcomed additional cash coming to West Dunbartonshire to support investment in local regeneration, but cautioned that the so-called levelling-up funding wouldn’t address the long-term damage inflicted on local communities by Westminster austerity measures.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the Tory government’s decision to slash Universal Credit payments by £1040 a year, raise National Insurance by over 10%, and scrap the Triple Lock on pensions – at a time when the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that inflation could exceed 4%.
MP Docherty-Hughes warned that soaring household bills, tax rises, and benefit cuts would put a strain on hard-pressed families and pensioners across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven.
Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“Whilst some of the Chancellor’s Budget announcements are welcome, the reality is it does little to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis facing my constituents in West Dunbartonshire.
“At a time when energy bills are rising, food and fuel prices are up, and inflation is set to soar by over 4% – hard-pressed families and pensioners are having their incomes cut by hundreds of pounds by this UK government.
“The Tories have a brass neck to boast of ‘levelling-up’ when they are pressing ahead with the largest cut to social security since the Second World War. Whilst making Universal Credit fairer for those in work is long overdue – it doesn’t help the carers, disabled people and others who cannot work and are now losing £1,000 a year by ending the £20 uplift at the worst possible time.
“I do welcome the additional regeneration money coming to West Dunbartonshire, and I applaud our local council for securing these funds which will help build on the investments made locally by WDC and the Scottish Government. However, if the Tories think it makes up for the damaging austerity and decades of neglect inflicted on our communities by Westminster then they can think again.
“What the UK Chancellor gives with one hand, they take away with the other. And the impact of Tory cuts to pensions and social security, tax rises, and a soaring cost-of-living crisis worsened by Brexit will give my constituents little to cheer about.”