SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to increase public sector salaries and benefits in line with inflation and rejoin the EU’s single market as he prepares to deliver the budget.
With 10 days left before Mr Hunt is due to lay out the UK government’s tax and spending plans, the SNP MP urged him to follow his party’s five-point plan.
As well as raising public sector wages and benefits in line with inflation – which stood at 9.2% in December – and re-entering the EU’s single market under the Windsor framework, Mr Flynn also called for an increase in support for household energy bills .
The energy price guarantee should be reduced to £2,000 and the £400 support for bills extended until at least the summer, he said.
Reported plans to lower the state retirement age to 68 should be shelved and investment directed towards green energy subsidies, Flynn said.
To increase funds for the Treasury to implement the plan, the leader of the SNP Westminster said the Chancellor should scrap the non-dom tax status, increase the windfall tax and introduce a share buyback levy, as well as the existing fiscal space and the shrinking one Price benefit of gas wholesale.
“The top priority for the UK budget must be putting money back in people’s pockets – and reversing this Tory-created cost-of-living crisis,” Flynn said.
“Scotland is a prosperous, high-energy country, but families are fleeced by Westminster. By refusing to act, the Tories are showing why Scotland needs independence so that we can escape Westminster control, rejoin the EU and build a fair and prosperous economy.
“Families are fed up with being ripped off by the Tory government. Instead of hammering household incomes, the Chancellor must save families £1,400 by cutting energy bills and providing a comprehensive support package.
“The SNP’s five-point plan would cut bills, increase incomes and spur economic growth at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet.
“As energy companies post record profits and the wholesale price of gas falls, there is no excuse not to act.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “People across Scotland want and rightly expect both governments to continue working together on the issues that are important to them – including tackling the pressure on the cost of living.
“Our plan to halve inflation this year will allow everyone to keep growing their incomes.
“We’re also offering significant support this year and next – worth an average of £3,500 per household – as well as a record increase in the national living wage and a 10% increase in Universal Credit and the State Pension in April.
“The Scottish Government will also receive a record block grant averaging £41bn over the next three years.