Governments united to demand immediate action on ‘living crisis’

With the UK government being challenged to “immediately intervene” and help families grappling with rising bills, the finance ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are uniting to demand action.

Senior politicians from Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff joined forces to call for a plan to tackle the “cost of life crisis”.

His petition came after a meeting with Simon Clark, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury.

Welsh government finance minister Rebecca Evans said homes “need to see immediate action from the Treasury to help those with rising bills and the cost of living”.

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Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans called on the UK government for ‘immediate action’. (Eleanor Cunningham / PA)

He added that rising energy bills are “a particular concern at the moment, as more and more people are living in fuel poverty”.

It comes after inflation across the UK soared to 5.1%, with households also facing higher bills for food and transport.

While Ms Evans said the Welsh government had invested more than £50 million to help, “most of the powers and financial resources needed to address the cost of living crisis are in the hands of the UK government”.

He demanded: “The Treasury must step in. Additional assistance through targeted UK-wide schemes such as the Warm Home Discount and other winter fuel payments will ease the burden on hard-pressed households. ,

His call was echoed by Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who said: “People are facing a cost of living crisis and the UK Government, which, despite our representation, cut down the Lifeline Universal Credit regeneration in October, now has to intervene urgently. needed.”

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Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said Holyrood had ‘limited resources’ compared to Westminster. (Jeff J Mitchell / PA)

She said ministers in Scotland had “set a series of ambitious actions”, such as a plan to double the weekly payment that goes to low-income families to £20, but stressed that Holyrood had “limited resources”. Were.

Meanwhile, Conor Murphy, Finance Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, said: “The cost of living crisis is causing hardship to families and businesses.

“I am calling on the Treasury to temporarily suspend VAT on energy bills to provide relief during the difficult winter period. It’s time for the Treasury to act.”

Ministers from the three developed countries also reiterated their calls for additional funding to respond to the COVID pandemic to be provided when needed, and not just when additional aid is provided in England.

Ms Evans said: “The Treasury must recognize the importance of supporting fully developed nations to help protect our businesses and protect our populations.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Murphy said: “We are calling on the Treasury to reinstate the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and furlough scheme on a targeted basis where necessary.

“It is disappointing that the Treasury is unprepared to provide assistance to workers and their families. We will ask the Treasury to reconsider this position immediately.”

And Ms. Forbes clarified: “It is not appropriate to start funding from public health decisions alone in England. A system is needed that supports the decisions of each evolving administration.”