Tory budget is a toxic cocktail of cost-of-living hikes and planetary neglect, say LibDems

LibDem Alex Cole Hamilton and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

By Democrat reporter

Responding to the UK budget, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This budget is a toxic cocktail of cost-of-living hikes and planetary neglect.

“Today the Chancellor missed the chance to avoid a cost-of-living crisis which will cause sleepless nights for families up and down the country. Almost half of the minimum wage rise is wiped out by their national insurance hike and his announcement on the Universal Credit taper is giving back a fraction of what he snatched away.

“We know that many households are facing a tough winter. That’s why Liberal Democrats called for the doubling for the Warm Home Discount and its extension to many more people on lower incomes. Sadly these pleas fell on deaf ears.

“Instead the Chancellor focused on cutting taxes for airlines. This will make it easier for Conservative ministers to get to COP26 but harder to tackle the climate emergency. Meanwhile the decision to cut international aid until 2024 will hurt the planet’s poorest in countries far less able to cope with Covid-19 and the climate emergency than our own.

On the additional consequentials for the Scottish budget he added: “The broad shoulders of the UK have helped us to weather the virus crisis. Now this money must be put to work relieving the pressure on the NHS, helping education bounce back and providing new hope for the climate emergency through unprecedented new investment in warm homes and green transport.”

Meanwhile, responding to the Scottish Government’s announcement that they have missed their renewable heating target, Scottish Liberal Democrat climate emergency spokesperson Liam McArthur, right, said:  “It is embarrassing that in the week of COP26 Scotland has missed another national target. Worse still it has gone backwards.

“Even under the SNP’s best-case scenario plans, there will still be 1 in 20 households in fuel poverty in 2040. We must take action now to improve homes and make them greener and warmer. Work on this will create jobs, cut bills and tackle the climate emergency.

“Scotland could be a beacon to the rest of the world, investing now to cut carbon from our energy networks will pay an environmental dividend for decades. Instead the Scottish Government has delayed its Fuel Poverty Strategy and neglected the workforce training, awareness raising and support schemes that will be necessary to convert homes to environmentally friendly forms of heating.

“At the moment the only hot air we are seeing is coming from SNP ministers.”

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