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Cost of Living

Volume 728: debated on Wednesday 22 February 2023

5. What assessment he has made of the impact of increases in the cost of living on people in Scotland. (903687)

12. What assessment he has made of the impact of increases in the cost of living on people in Scotland. (903694)

Like many countries around the world, the UK faces the challenge of high inflation, which is why the Prime Minister has made tackling inflation a key immediate priority. As was outlined in the Chancellor’s autumn statement, the Government are committed to supporting the most vulnerable households across the UK with £12 billion-worth of direct support in 2023-24. Alongside that, the energy price guarantee is saving a typical household in Scotland about £900 this winter.

The former viceroy made reference earlier to social security powers. The current deputy assistant junior viceroy will be aware that we have the best start grant in Scotland, whereas it was reported at the weekend that in England baby formula has been put behind the tills in Co-ops. Will the Minister outline what has gone wrong with the UK welfare state, when we have got to a stage where baby formula has to be put away because of fears of theft?

As the Chancellor set out in the autumn statement, we have taken the appropriate steps to help the most vulnerable households in Scotland and across the UK. I have set out already some of the payments being made to support households this winter. The Government continue to explore new ways of tackling poverty and helping to protect the most vulnerable, and we will continue to do so.

Scotland is a net energy exporter, but, as a consequence of being in the UK, people in energy-rich Scotland face electricity costs that are 30% higher than those in the Netherlands and Germany. Does the Secretary of State think it right that Scots face the highest bills in Europe while the UK Government allow energy companies to make billions in profit?

As I have set out during this session, the Government are putting in place tax arrangements to ensure that excessive profits made by BP, Shell and others are taxed at 75%. I do not accept the hon. Gentleman’s further analysis about the situation in Scotland; this Government have put in place measures to support households during this difficult winter period and we will continue to assess what other measures we can take to do so.