Cost of Living Crisis: 48% of Scots say remaining in UK would help economic recovery as 2.5 million people expected to be in fuel poverty, new polling shows

Nearly half of Scots think remaining part of the UK should help the economic recovery from Covid and say a plan to change Britain could be more attractive than independence, new polling has shown.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the poll showed people want “a serious plan to change Britain rather than independence” as he called for joint UK and Scottish government action on the cost-of-living crisis.

The estimated numbers of people in Scotland in fuel poverty are expected to soar from 750,000 people to 1.2 million by April.

By October, it could double up to 2.5 million if the governments fail to offer more support in the face of a 50 per cent increase in energy bills, according to figures compiled by Jonathan Bradshaw, emeritus professor of social policy at York University.

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New polling by Our Scottish Future showed only 22 per cent of Scots disagreed remaining in UK would help the economy, with 48 per cent agreeing and 26 per cent saying neither remaining nor a plan for Britain was more attractive than independence.

A total of 2,025 Scottish residents were polled by Stack Data Strategy between February 3 and February 14 for the survey.

The poll also found 40 per cent of people would describe their existing family financial situation as “tight” or “struggling”.

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Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for joint action from Scottish and UK Governments on cost of living crisis (Photo: Andrew Milligan, PA).

Mr Brown said: “Co-operation between Scotland and the UK, not confrontation or conflict between the two, is essential for the near-term recovery of Scotland and for the medium and long term prosperity of the Scottish people.

“Neither the UK nor the Scottish governments are doing enough."

Mr Brown is calling on the UK Government to delay the double-impact benefit cuts and tax rises at next week’s Spring Statement. He urged the Scottish Government to re-think its "flawed” council tax rebate.

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The former Labour leader said the UK and Scottish governments should together invest in modern housing technologies, better regulations over private landlords, and working with utility companies to protect those most in need.

Mr Brown said the UK Government should “beef up” the Scottish Government’s “underfunded and un-focussed” ten-year economic transformation plan.

But SNP MPS Kenneth Gibson said: "Gordon Brown is the very last person anyone in Scotland can trust when it comes to Scottish self-government.

“It’s staggering that as the cost-of-living crisis heightens, Gordon Brown continues to align himself with Westminster control that sees the poorest families have vital Universal Credit support cut by £20 a week.”

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Leaders including Mr Brown, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and London mayor Sadiq Khan have signed an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak expressing their worry about the cost-of-living crisis.

The letter calls on Mr Sunak to use his March 23 budget statement to remove “the quadruple whammy” worsening the cost of living crisis, demanding a halt to the 1.5 per cent increase in employee national insurance contributions and to restore the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift.

The Chancellor is also urged to put in place urgent support for insulation costs for the poorest households and to update benefits this year in line with inflation rates

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