The Secretary of Finance writes to the Treasury before the spring declaration.
Individuals and businesses need urgent support from the UK government to mitigate the rising cost of living, said Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.
In a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak ahead of the spring statement, Ms Forbes called on UK ministers to match the 6% hike in social security benefits the Scottish government is offering on eight of the benefits it is offering , and for more payments to be made to low-income households through the Cold Weather Payment
The letter to the UK government also calls for:
- more targeted funding to business sectors directly affected by the conflict in Ukraine
- business relief on national insurance contributions
- the abolition of VAT on energy-efficient and zero-emission heating equipment and products
- more powers for the Scottish Government to work with employers to implement flexible working
- full replacement of EU funding lost to Scotland as a result of Brexit, as promised by the UK government
The Scottish Government is ready to work with the UK Government, which holds the power to tackle the most pressing issues, to put in place a package of support measures.
Ms Forbes said:
“In Scotland, we are doing all we can to ensure that people, communities and businesses receive the most support possible to cope with the rising cost of living and the potential economic implications of the illegal invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.
“However, many of the powers needed to really tackle these issues are reserved for the UK Government, which is why I am calling on the Chancellor to take much-needed action in his spring statement.
“The Scottish Government is increasing eight Scottish Benefits by 6% from April 1 and doubling our Scottish Child Payment by £10 per week per eligible child to £20. We are using our powers to help those who need us most in these difficult times and it is time the UK government followed our lead and increased social security benefits by 6%.
“I would also ask that additional immediate support be provided through the cold weather payment, with an additional payment now and another next winter when we know energy bills will have risen again.”
Read the full letter here.