Cost-of-living crisis: Liz Truss to announce cost-of-living plans next week with Scottish budget to follow two weeks after

Liz Truss has promised she will announce her plans to tackle the cost-of-living crisis within a week of being named Conservative leader and Prime Minister – a tenure Nicola Sturgeon labelled would be a “disaster” if the leading Tory governs as she has campaigned.

The foreign secretary is widely expected to today be named the winner of the summer-long leadership election, which has seen the Boris Johnson loyalist battle former chancellor Rishi Sunak for the top job.

Coy on her cost-of-living proposals throughout the campaign, Ms Truss promised she would set out her plans on how to protect the public from rocketing energy bills and inflation predicted to hit 18 per cent over the winter within a week of being appointed.

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Ms Sturgeon, labelling an imminent Truss premiership a “disaster”, also committed to holding an emergency budget in Holyrood within two weeks of a “fiscal event” taking place in the House of Commons.

Such a budget follows several weeks of work behind the scenes in the Scottish Government on an emergency budget review, with civil servants tasked to find efficiencies and other spending that could be reprioritised to help households.

It will also follow the First Minister outlining her plans for the parliamentary year tomorrow when the Scottish Parliament returns.

The Programme for Government for the SNP/Green coalition will be outlined to MSPs, before deputy first minister and stand-in finance secretary John Swinney provides an update on the budget and plans for public sector pay on Wednesday.

Liz Truss looks set to become the next Prime Minister. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

However, speaking to the BBC on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Ms Truss repeatedly failed to outline her plans to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

She promised to act “immediately” to tackle the energy crisis upon entering Number 10, but would not offer clear detail of the support struggling households can expect.

There have been ever-louder calls in recent weeks for the UK Government to intervene to support the most vulnerable, with energy bills set to rise to around £3,500 this winter for the average household.

Ms Truss, who denied she was being “coy”, said she wanted to reassure voters that help was coming, but indicated they would need to wait for a few days yet to find out what exactly such support might look like.

Asked whether she believed her plans to reverse the rise in National Insurance contributions, which would see the richest receive a £1,800 tax cut compared to just £7 for the poorest, was fair, Ms Truss said it was.

She argued that growing the economy was more important than redistributing wealth, something she claimed had been too much of a focus of recent governments.

In an interview with Ms Kuenssberg, she said: “I will act if I’m elected as prime minister. I will act immediately on bills and on energy supply because I think those two things go hand in hand.

“We need to deal with the immediate problem, we need to help people. We need to help businesses. But we also need to sort out the supply issues.”

Repeatedly pressed on what form that action would take, Ms Truss said: “Before you have been elected as prime minister, you don’t have all the wherewithal to get the things done.

“This is why it will take a week to sort out the precise plans and make sure we are able to announce them. That is why I cannot go into details at this stage. It would be wrong.

“I understand people are worried and I want to reassure people that I am absolutely determined to sort out this issue as well within a month, present a full plan for how we are going to reduce taxes, how we’re going to get the British economy going, and how we are going to find our way out of these very difficult times.”

Speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon offered a warning to the likely next prime minister, saying: “If she governs how she has campaigned over the summer, she will be a disaster.”

The SNP leader added: “It’s obviously the case that Liz Truss and I don’t agree on very much politically, but I’m a firm believer in giving anybody who’s coming into the office of prime minister a chance to prove themselves, and I will certainly do my best to build a constructive working relationship with her.”

When asked to expand on her view of Ms Truss’s campaign, Ms Sturgeon accused her of campaigning on the “niche priorities” of Tory members, such as tax cuts.

“The obsessions of a tiny, tiny number of Conservative Party members are not the right priorities for the country,” she said.

“It won’t take very long to see whether she is going to govern as a prime minister with a focus on the real priorities of the country or not – I think that will become very obvious and evident perhaps within the first 24 to 48 hours of her premiership.

“Let’s hope she chooses the responsible course and stops pandering to the margins in the Conservative Party.”

Ms Sturgeon also said she was “profoundly concerned” that changes made during an emergency UK Budget could impact spending in Scotland.

The Scottish Government will set out its spending plans in an emergency budget within two weeks of a similar ‘fiscal event’ in the House of Commons, the First Minister said.

Mr Swinney later added the Government’s plans for the coming year, to be set out in the Programme for Government, would be “subject to the outcome of our emergency budget review”.

He said: “The UK Government’s existing spending plans, coupled with Bank of England inflation forecasts, mean that the Scottish Government’s funding will fall by 4.5 per cent in real terms next year.

“If inflation rises significantly higher, the resources available to us will erode even further at the very time when costs are increasing.

“With the new prime minister due to be appointed this week, it is vital that the UK Government now acts decisively to tackle this ongoing crisis.

“The Scottish Government is continuing to do everything within our powers and resources to help those most affected. However, the powers and resources needed to tackle this emergency on the scale required lie squarely with the UK Government.

“Further spending cuts to Scotland’s budget from the UK Government would be disastrous and would cost lives.”

Ahead of the announcement of the next Prime Minister, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the winner “doesn’t matter” and the victor would simply guarantee “more of the same”.

He also called on the next prime minister to call a general election and freeze energy prices.

“Whoever wins, it’s just Boris Johnson with neater hair, but without the jokes,” he said.

"The cost-of-living crisis is the number one issue facing families today and the Tories have no answers.

“We won’t see the scale of change we need as long as this failing, out-of-touch Tory government is in office.”

All episodes of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, are out now.

It is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


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