Scottish government urged to go ‘further and faster’ with cost of living measures

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The Scottish government is urged to go “further and faster” with measures to help those battling the rising cost of living.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has already pledged a £290m package of support aimed at helping some of those worst affected – including £150 council tax refunds for eligible households.

But with households facing rising bills for their energy and food costs, Scotland’s Liberal Democrats insisted more action was needed.

The party has now offered a ‘cost of living bailout’, with leader Alex Cole-Hamilton saying neither the SNP government in Edinburgh nor the Conservative government in Westminster are ‘doing enough to protect people from the worst of this crisis. ”.

The Liberal Democrats have already called for a one-off ‘Robin Hood tax’ on the profits of oil and gas producers and traders, which would allow vulnerable, low-income households to get £300 off their heating bills by doubling the Warm Home Discount and extending it to all those who benefit from universal credit and pension credit.

The Scottish Government is also being urged to increase funding for local authorities, with the Lib Dems arguing that extra cash here could prevent council tax bills from rising.

A 3.8% increase in rail fares should be scrapped, the party insisted, with calls also being made for more money for disability benefits and to pay for house insulation – a move that could help reduce energy costs.

With new laws also coming into force requiring homes in Scotland to have interconnected fire alarms – so a fire in one part of a building sets off all alarms in a property – the Liberal Democrats said more funding was needed to help defray the costs of this.

In January, the Scottish Government announced additional funding of £500,000 to help older and disabled people install such devices.

But Mr Cole-Hamilton said: ‘Bills are skyrocketing, families are having to choose between eating and heating.

“Holyrood and Westminster are failing Scottish households. Neither the Tories nor the SNP are doing enough to protect people from the worst of this crisis.

“The government must go much faster and further. The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ plans will support households and provide a fair deal for everyone. »

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