The SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina McKelvie, has described the UK Government’s Spring Budget statement as “a totally expected missed opportunity” to help households, businesses and public services through the cost of living crisis.

She also said that the Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had failed to make use of the full range of powers held at Westminster to tackle the current financial climate fairly, justly and equably, despite calls from the SNP at Westminster.

The SNP’s Westminster Group, led by Stephen Flynn MP, the MP for Aberdeen South, called on the Tory government to use this budget statement to make meaningful change by:

  • Slashing energy bills by £1,400.00
  • Scrapping plans to raise the pension age
  • Raise public sector pay and benefits in line with CPI inflation levels
  • Commit to re-joining the EU single market
  • Invest in Scotland’s renewable energy potential, cutting emissions and creating jobs and wealth.

Whilst welcoming a number of individual measures in the budget - such as the extension of the energy price guarantee – this does not go far enough, according to Christina McKelvie MSP, as a typical household’s energy bill is set to rise by almost a third in April. Ms McKelvie MSP has said that substantive actions, such as restoring the Universal Credit uplift, were notably absent.

Ms McKelvie is also frustrated that the UK Government failed to inflation-proof the Scottish Government’s budget so it can better co-ordinate spending across Scotland.

Ms McKelvie MSP said:

“This UK budget has failed to address the main societal issues across the UK, not least here in my constituency of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

“With the full-range of fiscal tools available to the UK Government, they could have taken meaningful decisions, meaningful action, to lift families out of poverty, alleviate the crippling effects of energy bills for my constituents, and to future proof the ability of the Scottish Government to enact change for our nation with an inflation-proof budget.

“My colleagues down in Westminster made reasonable requests of the Chancellor, but he failed to listen, which is nothing new. The UK Government has the ability to cease the rapid increases constituents are seeing in their energy bills by reducing them by £1,400. But, as is usually the case with Tory Westminster government’s, they failed to comprehend the magnitude of the energy crisis in Scotland.

“If that isn’t ignorance and incompetence, it is sheer malevolence.

“And, with Scotland’s vast deposits of renewable energy, it is baffling that the Tory’s would ever claim to be on route to net-zero whilst they fail to invest in our renewable’s sector. Without investment, any transition away from emissions-based energy resources seems to be a simple fallacy.

“If Scotland had the full range of powers we deserve, we would be well on our way to creating a wealthier, fairer, greener, more compassionate nation. Only independence will allow us to do this.”