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Scotland’s governments both failing on cost-of-living crisis – Sarwar

Anas Sarwar said neither the Scottish nor UK government is doing enough to help struggling families (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Anas Sarwar said neither the Scottish nor UK government is doing enough to help struggling families (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scotland’s two governments are not doing enough to stop the cost-of-living crisis, Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader took aim at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over the need to better support struggling families with fuel and food costs.

During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, he said the SNP has wasted £3.2 billion of public funds to make up for Scottish Government failures.

That included, he said, £152 million of failed ferry contracts at Ferguson Marine, and £146 million on “mismanagement” at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids hospital and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Mr Sarwar also accused the Scottish Government of wasting £40 million, a figure still rising, on the Rangers prosecution.

But Ms Sturgeon refuted that claim, saying the Scottish Government could not have interfered on independent Crown proceedings.

Mr Sarwar said: “Right around the country we’re seeing the cost of SNP failure and at the same time energy bills are up, petrol prices are up and the weekly shop is more expensive than ever.

“Right now in Scotland there are mums skipping meals in order to feed their kids.

“People are knocking back items at foodbanks because they can’t afford to cook them.

“And in the face of the biggest drop in living standards since the Second World War, both our governments are not doing enough.

First Ministers Questions
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Labour should support SNP calls for more powers to be devolved to Holyrood (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Instead of wasting billions of pounds paying for the cost of SNP failures, we should be supporting families with the cost-of-living crisis.”

In response, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Labour leader should back calls for more welfare powers to be devolved to Scotland.

She said: “Can I remind Anas Sarwar that power over energy and the cost of petrol are still reserved to Westminster.

“If he wants to change that he should argue for those powers to come here, and in terms of the wider cost of living, we have increased the benefits that this Government is responsible for.

“We’ve doubled the child payment and if we’re to be able to do more, then he needs to support us in calling for greater welfare powers to come to this Parliament.”

She also said the £146 million figure cited by Mr Sarwar was misleading and not wasted on Scotland’s hospitals, with the vast majority of the funds in “no way new, unexpected or avoidable”.