Brexit: SNP calls for cross-party committee to investigate cost-of-living crisis would be ‘wasting taxpayers' money’, UK Government say
The SNP group in Westminster used a debate on Wednesday to call for a review of “Brexit’s disastrous legacy”, and come up with ideas ahead of the review of the trade and co-operation agreement with Brussels.
Opening an SNP-led debate, the party’s Scotland spokeswoman Dr Philippa Whitford said: “As we approach the seventh anniversary of the referendum, one of its key architects may have just left the stage [Boris Johnson], but Brexit’s disastrous legacy will impact people across the nations of the UK for years to come.
“I know as a doctor that the first step in dealing with any problem is to admit that you have one, but both this Government and the Labour Party appear to be in complete denial about the contribution of Brexit to the cost-of-living crisis.
“If he wants to reduce some of the damage of Brexit, the Labour leader should support the idea of a committee to identify proposals that could be put to the EU prior to the review of the trade and co-operation agreement in 2026. Otherwise, what is the plan? Close his eyes, click his red heels together and make a wish?”.
However, in a feisty Commons session, Scottish Minister John Lamont claimed the SNP were blaming Brexit for all of Britain’s problems, as well as Scotland’s position in the UK.
He said: “Cost-of-living increases are impacting households and businesses across the United Kingdom. It is right that this Parliament should be concerned with how we mitigate these impacts and ensure the people of Scotland thrive.
“However, a debate which starts from the unfounded position that the UK’s exit from the EU is to blame for any and all woes is not the best use of this House’s time.
“[Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, coupled with the economic aftershocks of Covid, have caused huge disruptions to the global economy. No country is immune to this.”
He pointed to the UK Government’s cost of living support of £94 billion over this financial year and the next year, insisting ministers were acting.
The Borders MP claimed it was a “crackpot idea” for a new committee in the region of £463,000 per annum, and that the SNP fundamentally misunderstood the causes of inflation.
He continued: “Make no mistake Mr Speaker, I do not intend to underestimate the challenges facing the people of Scotland. But to suggest that leaving the EU is responsible for driving those challenges is outrageous.
“To give another example – Germany, Sweden, Portugal and a number of other countries in Europe have all seen food price inflation of over 20 per cent recently. This is driven by global factors like the loss of the grain supply from Ukraine and unseasonal weather in places like Spain and Morocco.
“The SNP’s motion to establish a select committee to look at the cost-of-living crisis is not only an unnecessary duplication of other work by this Parliament, but it is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”
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