MP highlights cost of living crisis facing East Renfrewshire families


East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald

Speaking in a debate initiated by the SNP Group at Westminster, Ms Oswald stated the situation is being made worse by choices made by the UK Government.

She highlighted 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.

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Consumer prices were 5.4 per cent higher in December 2021 than the year before, the highest inflation rate recorded since 1992, and it is forecast to carry on rising.

Domestic gas prices increased by 28 per cent between January and November last year, and electricity by 19 per cent.

Ms Oswald claimed inflation is hitting basic foodstuffs and household products much harder than the headline figures suggest.

She referred to the work of budget cooking blogger Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) who posted that, since this time last year, the cheapest pasta in her local supermarket has gone up by 141 per cent while rice is up by a massive 344 per cent.

Ms Oswald challenged the UK Government to recognise that such increases heavily impact those who have to shop for the cheapest items, many of whom are having their income reduced by the UK Government’s universal credit cuts, fuel price rises, regressive NI increases, and caps on benefits, including for families with more than two children.

She said: “It is not some random accident that is leading families in East Renfrewshire into a cost-of-living crisis, Tory Government choices have propelled us down this road. It was their choice to cut the £20 Universal Credit uplift and to increase National Insurance charges, which will hit low-paid workers hard.

“The Tories chose to remove the pensions triple lock in breach of their own manifesto commitment, while moving quickly to write off £4.3bn in fraudulently claimed Covid business funding.

“The UK Government are fighting among themselves while the cost-of-living crisis bites, in stark contrast to the Scottish Government, who are using their limited powers to support those who need it most, including doubling the Scottish child payment to tackle rising child poverty.

“The UK Government know that as the cost of living rises, propelled by their policy choices, many more people are in significant hardship, but they just don’t care.”

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