Local Scottish National Party (SNP) MP, Patricia Gibson, has renewed calls on the UK government to provide urgent support to families and households struggling to make ends meet due to the OVID-19 pandemic.
A Citizens Advice Scotland survey revealed that one in three Scots are worried about how they will pay for bills, food and other essentials. While four in ten living in rented accommodation said they are concerned about future payments on their home.
Earlier, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP wrote to party leaders urging the UK Government and opposition parties to meet urgently with utilities companies to ensure households have the support they need as unemployment rises, incomes are reduced and utility costs and usage increases, calling for:
An Emergency Energy Grant - to support households struggling to pay their energy bills and prevent people from accruing unmanageable debts.
A six-month reprieve on utilities being cut off - to ensure struggling households don’t lose access to energy and telecoms utilities during the crisis.
A price freeze – with measures to keep costs manageable, including flat-rate telephone calls and landline charges suspended during the day to help people stay in touch with their families and loved ones.
Mrs Gibson said:
“The COVID-19 crisis has pushed many families and individuals, through no fault of their own, into hardship and financial difficulty.
“With people worried about how they will pay for food, essential items, bills and payments on their homes, it is vital that the UK Government addresses this, to support people in their time of need.
“Household costs are rising at the same time as millions of people endure a reduction or complete loss of their income. The financial strain facing many is becoming unbearable
"The UK government has worked constructively with devolved governments on measures that have been brought forward so far. However, much more needs to be done to help those households on the brink and struggling to make ends meet."
Mrs Gibson has repeatedly called on the UK Government - to which such powers are reserved - to protect livelihoods by introducing a guaranteed minimum income for everyone.