SNP calls for support for businesses as UK gas prices labelled a 'perfect storm'
The energy crisis facing the UK is a “perfect storm”, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said, amid calls for Boris Johnson to offer direct support to affected businesses as gas prices continue to rise.
Ian Blackford compared comments made by UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng playing down the possibility of extra help for business to Margaret Thatcher.
He also claimed that if Scotland was independent, the SNP would “fix” the problem faced by businesses facing rising wholesale gas processes.
The SNP MP warned that not providing support for firms as wholesale energy prices rise will affect everyone.
Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Mr Blackford said: “Government has to recognise it has a responsibility to nurse businesses through this, to provide short-term support.
“If we end up in a situation, for example, where steel production stops in west central Scotland that helps nobody.
“So we’ve got to make sure that companies have got the assistance they need in the short term while we get through this.
“If not, we’re all going to pay a price because we’re going to end up with higher unemployment, we’re going to end up with supply constraints; we’re ending up in a situation, by the way – and the real worry I have out of this – is that inflation is now increasing.
“The Bank of England and the Government have been slow to react to this; we’re now seeing wage inflation – in fact the Prime Minister is encouraging wage inflation. That runs the risk that we end up with higher inflation for longer and the consequences of all of that.
“It is a serious problem.”
Asked if the Scottish Government could be doing more, Mr Blackford said that it was not possible for the SNP to fix problems emanating from Westminster.
He said: “The Scottish Government is already doing what it can and in particular we are making sure that we are trying to react to fuel poverty.
"We cannot fix every problem that emerges from Westminster.
"I want to do as much as we can but our budget is constrained and lets remember that we don’t have the borrowing powers that Westminster has.
"We would fix this, give us the powers to do it and we would make sure that we get businesses necessary support.”
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