Cost-of-living emergency declared at Scottish crisis summit

Along with an interest rates rise and energy bills rocketing, people face ongoing pressure on their ability to afford the basic essentials.

Cost-of-living emergency declared at Scottish crisis summit in Glasgow iStock

A cost-of-living emergency has been declared at a crisis summit of trade union leaders and community groups in Glasgow.

The STUC and the Poverty Alliance, alongside trade union, civic and community groups from across Scotland announced a list of key demands on the Scottish Government amid the sharpest price rises in 40 years.

It comes as experts warn basic foodstuffs including meat, dairy and fruit and vegetable products could be next in line to skyrocket in price due to factors including Brexit, Covid-induced supply chain issues and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Thursday, the Bank of England raised its interest base rate to the highest point since 2009 and warned that inflation will peak at more than 10% as the cost of living continues to soar.

The energy price cap is expected to rocket again to around £2800 later this year. It comes after the cap rose by almost £700 in April for millions of people across the UK.

Public service workers across Scotland have threatened strike action as they say they cannot afford to live.

Teachers, NHS staff, cleansing workers, police and rail employees are among those demanding better rates of pay.

Following a day of crisis talks with community leaders the STUC and Poverty Alliance issued a formal declaration of a cost-of-living emergency.

Key demands include convening a national food summit following the Scottish Government’s decision to reject universal free school meals throughout primary and secondary schools this week.

Further demands include a national lobby of the Scottish Parliament on endemic low pay with recent statistics showing that real-term pay has fallen by 10% since the start of the year.

Other pledges include a national rent freeze and reform of public transport, focusing on people over profit.

The summit also called for our social security system to be renewed in order to tackle poverty and low incomes.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “Our summit, representative of Scotland’s trade union and civic movement against this crisis, has declared a cost-of-living emergency. This is just the beginning. We’re building a nationwide movement that is seeking action on low pay, housing, transport and poverty.

“It’s no longer tolerable to wait on decisions from our political class. We’ve made it simple for them and our summit was clear. This is an emergency situation that requires an emergency response.

“Inaction is not an excuse. Whether something is devolved or reserved doesn’t matter to workers across Scotland; they just need decisive action from our political leaders which, until now, has been decisively lacking.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “The only way we will get through this crisis is by showing solidarity and compassion.

“Today’s conference was about putting those values into action. We look forward to building on today’s demands to create a movement to tackle the injustice of poverty and low incomes in Scotland.”

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