FM says Sunak ignored ‘wave of human misery’ in spring release

NICOLA Sturgeon accused Rishi Sunak of showing “callous disregard for the misery people face” in her spring statement.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Thursday, she criticized the Chancellor for not increasing benefits enough to help low-income people during the cost of living crisis.

She also accused the UK government of ‘skimming’ money for pre-election bribes that could be given to the poor now.

Responding to a question from Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar, she said: “In relation to yesterday’s spring statement, I think it showed complete disregard for the misery people face.

“Household incomes are on the verge of their biggest decline in more than 60 years.

‘There was nothing to help the poor and those on the lowest incomes and I think it was shameful that the Chancellor had been hoarding money for pre-election bribes, which could be used now to help the poor.”

Sunak announced that fuel taxes would be cut by 5p – from 6pm on Wednesday – and the threshold at which workers would start paying National Insurance would be raised from £9,600 to £12,570.

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Benefits will also increase by 3.1%, but that compares to projected inflation of nearly double that level.

Sunak further pledged to reduce the basic income tax rate before the next general election.

Sarwar claimed Sturgeon was also guilty of not doing enough to help those struggling to make ends meet.

He told the chamber: “He [Sunak] had to learn lessons from this Prime Minister’s missed opportunities.

“In her government’s budget, she had the chance to tackle the cost of living crisis but failed.

“Giving households less than £4 a week in council tax rebates, copying Sunak’s policy, just won’t do. Will she accept that the measures she has taken are not enough to deal with this crisis?

Sturgeon hit back by pointing out that the SNP had doubled Scottish Child Payment and increased devolved benefits by 6%, but said the government had limited resources to do whatever she wanted.

Sarwar suggested that she had the power to change people’s lives but did not use it.

He said: “We welcome the doubling of Scottish Child Payment, but it’s a plan that predates the cost of living crisis. This Prime Minister is obsessed with the power she doesn’t have, but she has been in government for 15 years, she has Use it to change people’s lives.

“When will the Prime Minister understand that she must do better?”

Sturgeon replied: “There’s a wave of human misery going on right now and it’s only going to get worse, but there’s a real problem at the heart of it.

“If you look at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JFR) analysis, those with the lowest incomes are going to see them cut by almost 6%. The main reason for this is the inability to increase benefits by more than 3 .1%.

“When it came to choosing between yes and no, Anas Sarwar encouraged people to vote no and that is why those powers remain in the hands of Boris Johnson and his government. Until Anas Sarwar addresses this question, we will always be limited in this area. parliament. When will he wake up and realize this?”

The JFR estimated that around 400,000 people could be pushed into poverty due to the cut in benefits in April.

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