Three quarters of Scots fear the cost of living will get worse over the coming years, a poll suggests.
Some 75% of Scots said they believe the cost of living crisis will get worse over the coming years, with 84% saying it should be a top priority for government.
According to 58% of respondents, NHS waiting lists would also get worse, alongside 57% who said the same about the availability of affordable housing.
The State of the State report, by Ipsos UK, of 899 people from Scotland for management consultancy firm Deloitte, and think tank Reform, sought to assess attitudes to Government, including priorities for the future and people’s concerns.
It comes as deputy First Minister, and acting finance secretary, John Swinney announced last week plans for a further £615m in cuts, taking the total this year to £1.2bn in response to rising inflation.
But the crisis has also hit households, with increasing costs to goods and soaring energy and fuel prices paired with rising interest rates.
Other top priorities identified were tackling the NHS backlog, which was mentioned by 76% of people and climate change – which was cited by 47% of respondents.
The survey also turned up areas of divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK, particularly on taxation.
Some 35% of respondents said they were in favour of higher public spending, even if it meant an increase to taxes, while 33% said they were against such a move and 15% said they would like spending to stay at the same level.
This is compared to the UK average of 29% in favour of higher spending.
Last week, Swinney said decisions on taxation would be laid out in next month’s draft budget and has repeatedly refused to be drawn on what changes could be made.
Former prime minister Liz Truss attempted to slash taxes during her ill-fated time in Downing Street, a move which saw the pound spiral against the dollar and caused the Bank of England to step in to secure the UK economy.
A separate survey conducted by marketing firm The Union, also released on Monday, found the level of anger around the cost of living crisis on the rise.
Rising levels of frustration among the population in Scotland were evident in the report, with a strong sense of “looking for someone to blame”, with 69% reporting an increase in household anger and 80% saying they are becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation.
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those surveyed blame the UK Government for the current crisis, with almost four in 10 blaming the Liz Truss-Kwasi Kwarteng mini-budget as the main cause.
Over a quarter (26%) said their family relationships have suffered as a result of the strain the crisis is creating.
Rising costs have had an impact on people’s mental health, with 75% reporting an increase in stress as a result of the economic crisis and a further 35% saying they are having difficulty sleeping.
A Treasury spokesman said: “Countries around the world are facing rising costs, driven by Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, and we know this is affecting people here in the UK.
“The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save the typical household around £700 this winter, based on what energy prices would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third.
“In addition, we have provided at least an extra £1,200 of cost of living support to eight million of the most vulnerable households.
“We’ve also reversed the rise in national insurance contributions and made changes to universal credit to help working households keep more of what they earn.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We are very concerned about the hardship people are facing as a result of the cost of living crisis.
“We are doing what we can to help families, within the limited powers we have. We have allocated almost £3bn in this financial year to help households face the increased cost of living, including £1bn in providing services and financial support not available elsewhere in the UK.
“We have called on the UK Government to target additional support for those who are already struggling and will continue to press the UK Government to use all the levers at its disposal to tackle this emergency on the scale required – these include access to borrowing, providing benefits and support to households, VAT on fuel, taxation of windfall profits and regulation of the energy market.”
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