STURGEON CALLS FOR MORE ACTION ON COSTS CRISIS IN FIRST LETTER TO PM

Nicola Sturgeon has said “much more needs to be done” to tackle the cost-of-living crisis in her first letter to new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.


The First Minister called for a number of measures, including an increase to benefits in line with inflation and an enhanced windfall tax on energy companies.


She also called for increased funding for devolved administrations, saying inflation has eroded their ability to fund public services.


Mr Sunak and Ms Sturgeon spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening, shortly after he concluded his Cabinet reshuffle.


The Prime Minister said he and the first ministers of Scotland and Wales have a “duty” to work together to respond to “shared challenges”.


In her letter, Ms Sturgeon reiterated her call for a second referendum on Scottish independence, saying “the Scottish Government was re-elected on a commitment to give people in Scotland the opportunity to vote in an independence referendum”.


She congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment.


She said: “Notwithstanding our political differences, I very much hope we can establish a constructive working relationship based on mutual respect between our governments."


“As we discussed, you take office at a time of profound economic disruption and uncertainty, and the measures announced by your predecessor exacerbated a cost-of-living crisis that is causing significant damage to households and businesses now facing higher mortgages, spiralling interest rates and financial instability.”


Ms Sturgeon voiced concern about the impact of potential spending cuts on the Scottish Government’s budget.


She said: “The Scottish Government is using all of our powers and resources to support households to mitigate the cost crisis."


“By March 2023, we will have invested almost £3 billion supporting energy bills, childcare, health and travel, as well as social security payments that are either not available elsewhere in the UK or are provided on a more generous basis."


“We have also allocated more than £800 million to support businesses."


“However, it is clear much more needs to be done."


“It is not credible to argue that devolved funding settlements set when inflation was around 3% are now sufficient to address the reality of public services being eroded by double-digit inflation.”


She called for four “essential” measures: support for low-income households with energy costs; increases to benefits; an enhanced windfall tax; and additional funding for devolved governments.