Drew Hendry: ‘Be warned, Labour’s silence over the cost of living crisis is deafening’

A new poll has found eight in 10 people expect January will turn out to be the toughest month yet financially.

With rents and mortgages, food costs and energy bills still putting a strain on everyone’s finances, it’s no wonder folk are disillusioned with the Westminster bubble.

The survey, conducted by Nationwide, showed that 84% of people in the UK are worried about January spending, with 43% blaming high energy costs and 37% blaming the cost of living crisis.

It comes following Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, confirming his party would not redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest if they win the next general election, nor properly invest in renewable energy.

Over the past year, Sir Keir has forensically dismantled Labour’s policy platform and performed a series of screeching U-turns.

Free university tuition? Scrapping tax breaks for private schools? Abolishing the bedroom tax and two child cap? Taxing higher earners? Investing £28 billion in the just transition? Voters have watched on in horror as the Labour leadership has jettisoned each and every policy.

The Labour Party in now indistinguishable from the Tories when it comes to policy. Starmer was even unwilling to stand up and call for a ceasefire in Gaza until there were similar noises from Tory politicians. Now he’s even given up on their right to statehood.

Dumping policies, forsaking values and dodging decisions are all that characterises the Labour leader, whom the public rightly do not trust. As such, Labour is failing working people while the Tories scramble to the hard right of the political spectrum and sink into internecine conflict.

It’s clearer than ever before that neither of the Westminster parties are focused on the people’s priorities – they’re too preoccupied with image, internal squabbles and their own electoral prospects. Even during the progress of the Finance bill, the process following the Chancellor’s Autumn statement, the Labour party have refused to bring their own or support SNP initiatives to help people, now, during their time of need. 

We’ve asked for last year’s £400 energy bill rebate to be reintroduced, since bills are even higher than 12 months ago, we’ve asked for intervention on food prices, which is happening in other countries and indeed for a range of measures on rents, mortgages and more. They even abstained from an SNP motion to add to the finance bill, a requirement for the Tories to report on the effects of the budget on the cost of living.

The silence from Labour is not only deafening it is a warning for the future. The fact is that, once in power, it is an open secret that they will continue with the harsh austerity programme of the Tories. There is not one tangible measure of support for struggling households to give them help, when they need it, which is now – and in the immediate future on offer from the Labour Party. Their rhetoric is indistinguishable from that of the Tories under Cameron. Just like Brexit, their selling point is that they will, somehow do the public self harm of austerity ‘better’

It is a sales pitch straight to Tory voters and an abandonment of basic principles, not only to the poor but the growing number of struggling families who are being dragged into financial crisis.

With each passing day, it’s clear that only the SNP are offering voters an alternative to this Westminster-made cost of living crisis.

Households across the nations of the UK are crying out for support, this, the toughest month yet, should see that support given, and, whilst it is hardly a surprise that the Tories have no compassion on this issue surely those in opposition should be fighting for it. The SNP are, where are Labour? They are abstaining to avoid offence to those who they seek to recruit.

And for many of them, it will be. It will certainly feel like it, as the temperatures dip, prices remain high and Westminster leaves them to suffer.

Only the SNP are championing the investment needed to boost economic growth, expand our exciting renewable sector, and protect our NHS for households right across Scotland.

This election can’t come soon enough – and when it does, it’ll be clear to voters in Scotland that Labour and the Tories are just two sides of the same coin.

The SNP stand to actually make a real difference for people and deliver the change they need. Goodness knows that after decades of boom and bust with this lot, they badly need it.

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