Nicola Sturgeon sends letter to Boris Johnson calling for urgent talks over cost-of-living crisis

In her letter, the First Minister stressed that “targeted” support was necessary for the most vulnerable

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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for an urgent meeting between the heads of the devolved administrations to address the cost-of-living crisis.

In a letter sent on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to move a proposed meeting between the heads of the UK’s Governments from September to this week.

Last week, the Bank of England announced projections that could see inflation rise above 13 percent in October, while another projection found that the energy price cap could rise to £3,358 annually from October, and could hit £3,615 from January.

Many of the “levers of government” required to tackle the issue remain reserved to Westminster, the First Minister said in her letter, adding that actions taken by devolved administrations “will not be enough”.

Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson
Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson

“You suggested a first meeting of the Heads of Government Council to take place in September,” the First Minister wrote.

“However, as I am sure you must recognise, the situation is fast deteriorating and many people across the UK simply cannot afford to wait until September for further action to be taken.

“I am therefore writing to seek an emergency meeting of the Heads of Government Council and propose that we, as leaders of our respective Governments, meet as soon as possible this week to discuss and agree urgent steps to help those in most need now, and also formulate a plan of action for the autumn and winter ahead.”

She added: “The current crisis requires clear, focused and determined leadership and co-operation to develop and deliver – at pace – a package of interventions to protect those most impacted.”

In her letter, the First Minister stressed that “targeted” support was necessary for the most vulnerable, while hitting out at tax cuts proposed by those vying to succeed Boris Johnson in No 10.

In response, a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: “We recognise the pressures families across the United Kingdom are facing due to rising prices caused by global challenges.

“That’s why the UK Government is providing 689,000 households in Scotland with the £650 cost-of-living payment, £300 for all Scottish pensioners and £400 to help people with their energy bills.

Ms Sturgeon has sent a letter to Ms Johnson urging for talks on the cost-of-living crisis
Ms Sturgeon has sent a letter to Ms Johnson urging for talks on the cost-of-living crisis

“We have also provided an extra £82 million for the Scottish Government to help vulnerable families at their discretion – in addition to the significant income tax and welfare powers they already have.

“The UK Government’s spending review provided the Scottish Government with a record £41 billion annual settlement for the next three years and we will continue to work collaboratively with them.”

It came as the Government was warned by business leaders that it must have “all hands to the pump” to address the crisis ahead of the autumn.

Tony Danker, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), joined former prime minister Gordon Brown’s call for swift intervention to address rising energy costs.

But Downing Street said Mr Johnson had no plans to introduce major new fiscal measures before the end of his premiership.

Mr Danker said: “The economic situation people and businesses are facing requires all hands to the pump this summer.

“We simply cannot afford a summer of Government inactivity while the leadership contest plays out followed by a slow start from a new prime minister and cabinet.

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor should be taking the next few weeks to grip the emerging crisis and the planning required to tackle it. This will also give their successor – whomever that may be – the very best chance of getting quickly out of the blocks.”