Politicians floundering to solve cost-of-living crisis

Politicians need to realise their decisions on how to tackle the cost-of-living crisis will determine how many people die this winter.

That may sound alarmist, but it is in the hands of politicians to decide whether or not the help they provide over the winter will allow the poorest among us, who the Institute for Fiscal Studies states will face inflation of almost 20 per cent, to choose to heat their homes and eat.

Instead of the seriousness the crisis requires, we instead are witnessing a Tory leadership campaign from a different economic universe of tax cuts.

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Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, at least presents a targeted plan, but it still falls woefully short given the predicted jump in the price cap to over £5,000 a year.

Liz Truss’s plans are more about ensuring Conservative members don’t get angry with her than actually tackling the heart of the issue and are yet to be fleshed out.

Sir Keir Starmer’s plan of handing £29 billion to energy companies to freeze the cap is another example of the depressingly common approach in British politics of slogan before policy.

Does it mean everyone will pay less than they would otherwise? Yes – but the catch is that it helps the richest, those who use the most energy and may even wish to heat their second or third homes, the most.

The cost-of-living crisis will frame the politics of the winterThe cost-of-living crisis will frame the politics of the winter
The cost-of-living crisis will frame the politics of the winter

It is easy opposition politics, but its simplicity belies the lack of serious, targeted policy. It’s arguably Johnsonian.

In Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon refuses to talk about the one thing she could do when discussing the cost-of-living crisis, instead sitting comfortably in risible platitudes of resilience meetings and sternly worded ‘demands’ to Westminster.

The SNP leader is intent on staying firmly silent on even the possibility of raising taxes to help the poorest survive over winter.

The First Minister has the power to raise taxes to help pay for increased, Holyrood developed help, but that would come with its own domestic political problems unlikely to be countenanced.

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But why would she bother when the crisis provides such a good opportunity for the SNP to continue banging the constitutional drum?

Those who will be hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis deserve their survival to be taken seriously.

So far politicians appear to be more focused on opportunistic point-scoring.

The fourth episode of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, is out now.

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



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