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Photo: MP for West Dunbartonshire Martin Docherty-Hughes speaking in the House of Commons.

Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has urged the Prime Minister to get a grip on the cost-of-living crisis facing hard-hit households in West Dunbartonshire.

The SNP led an opposition day debate in the House of Commons this week calling on the UK government to take urgent action to tackle the squeeze on household budgets caused by rising food and energy prices.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has advised that consumer prices were 5.4% higher in December 2021 than the year before – the highest inflation rate recorded since 1992. Inflation is forecast to continue rising well above the annual wage growth of 3.8%.

It’s also expected that households and businesses will be hit with record hikes to their energy bills in April when the energy price cap is set to rise by 50%.

To help families through the cost-of-living crisis the SNP are calling for the UK government to introduce an emergency package of measures. This includes introducing a Real Living Wage of at least £10 an hour; delivering an energy payment for low-income households; reinstating the £20 Universal Credit uplift, and matching the Scottish Government’s Scottish Child Payment for families across the UK.

SNP MPs have also demanded that the Westminster government scraps its plans to hike National Insurance by over 10% in April, following warnings of the cost-of-living crisis facing many households.

Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“Every week I hear from constituents struggling to make ends meet due to the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

“Under this Tory government, in-work poverty across the UK is the worst it’s been this century. Wages are failing to keep pace with inflation and the soaring costs of food, fuel and energy, which is putting a huge strain on household budgets.

“But Boris Johnson’s government seems determined to make things worse rather than better for hard-hit families in West Dunbartonshire. Instead of restoring the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit, the Tories are imposing harsher sanctions on welfare claimants. Rather than introducing a real living wage, the Tories are pressing ahead with tax hikes on working people.

“With energy bills set to rise by up to 50% in April, it’s deeply worrying the impact this will have on already struggling families. By failing to do what’s needed to tackle this crisis, the UK government is showing exactly why Scotland needs the powers of a normal independent country.”

The text of the SNP motion tabled in the House of Commons is as follows:

“That this House notes there is a cost of living crisis hitting homes across the UK; regrets the UK Government’s current plan of reductions in certain benefits and tax rises coupled with rising costs of the UK leaving the EU; is concerned that the UK has the worst levels of poverty and inequality in north west Europe and the highest levels of in-work poverty this century; and calls on the Government to take immediate action with a package of measures to boost incomes and reverse rising poverty, including reinstating the £20 universal credit uplift, introducing a Real Living Wage of at least £10 an hour, introducing an energy payment for low income households, and matching the Scottish Government’s Scottish Child Payment for families across the UK.”

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