Cost of living and debts on the rise as food prices take off during lockdown. Top aerial picture of Dumbarton by Sean Davenport.
By Democrat reporter
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has demanded action to protect families and households across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute who are staring down the barrel of a ‘cost of living crisis’ caused by the pandemic.
Statistics published by the Scottish Government last week have revealed the extent of the cost of living crisis facing the people of West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute with many thousands seeking help with council tax exemptions.
Scottish Government statistics have revealed as of last November almost half a million Scots – 497,170 people – were receiving council tax exemption due to financial pressures.
In West Dunbartonshire as many as 11,390 people have been forced to apply for council tax exemption. Similarly in Argyll & Bute, 7,090 people have applied for council tax exemptions.
Statistics have also revealed that by the end of December 2020, 1,207 people had applied for debt moratoria under emergency measures brought forward by Scottish Labour and contained in both the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020.
On top of the pressures of council tax and personal debt, millions of Scots are set to be hit by inflation-busting water prices – despite Scottish Water and its subsidiaries holding reserves of over half a billion pounds.
Jackie Baillie is challenging the SNP to take action to support thousands of families facing a cost of living crisis due to collapsing earnings and spiralling costs.
She said: “The economic shock waves of this pandemic have rocked families and households in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute with many thousands facing falling earnings and rising costs.
“Make no mistake, my constituents are facing a cost of living crisis. It is simply unacceptable that a combined total of over 18,000 people across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute have been forced to apply for council tax exemption.
“The SNP has been too slow to act to support businesses, protect workers and protect family finances – at the coming budget, Scottish Labour will fight for a fair economic recovery for all that puts the people of Scotland first.
“It’s time to put households and families at the heart of our economic recovery.”