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Ross-shire MP Ian Blackford demands extra funding for families from Prime Minister as 'year of the squeeze' takes its toll


By Hector MacKenzie

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Ian Blackford made his remarks at Prime Minister's Questions.
Ian Blackford made his remarks at Prime Minister's Questions.

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford has called for the UK government to introduce an emergency financial package to help families cope with what he termed "the growing Tory cost of living crisis" as household budgets are squeezed by "cuts, regressive tax hikes and soaring energy bills".

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, the SNP Westminster leader cited new research from the Resolution Foundation showing that, on average, families will be £1200 worse off from April, which he said would be a “catastrophic” blow to millions of households.

Warning that 2022 will be the “year of the squeeze” for family budgets, he called on Boris Johnson to take urgent action, with an emergency financial package to support families, including introducing a UK-wide child payment of £20 per child per week, and an energy payment for low income households.

He said: “Over Christmas, serious warnings have grown over the Tory cost of living crisis, which will hit the majority of families this year.

“New research from the Resolution Foundation has found that, on average, families will be £1200 worse off from April as a result of Tory cuts, tax hikes, and soaring energy bills.

“For members of the Tory government, £1200 might not seem like very much. For the Foreign Secretary, it’s just another taxpayer-funded lunch in Mayfair. For the Prime Minister, it’s just a roll of fancy wallpaper for his taxpayer-funded flat.

“But for the vast majority of families, losing £1200 a year will be catastrophic. For some, it will mean they can't afford to pay their rent and bills, heat their homes, or put food on the table.”

He added: “The Prime Minister must apologise for leaving millions of families worse off - and commit to an emergency financial package to reverse this Tory cost of living crisis. We’ve had the ‘year of Tory sleaze’, now we’ve got the ‘year of the squeeze’ for family budgets. Economists have warned UK living standards will worsen in 2022, with the poorest households hit hardest. Under this Prime Minister, the UK already has the worst levels of poverty and inequality in north west Europe. Now, the Tories are making millions of families even poorer.

“In Scotland, the SNP government is mitigating this Tory poverty crisis - by doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week. The Prime Minister must match the Scottish Government by introducing a £20 child payment across the UK, and other measures including an energy payment for low income households – or the Tories will push even more families into poverty this year.”


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