Glasgow to demand more support from UK Government over cost of living crisis

Glasgow will demand the UK Government steps up its support for citizens struggling with the cost of living as it was revealed 5,000 more children are expected to be thrust into poverty.

Councillors from Labour, the Greens and the SNP came together to send a message to new Prime Minister Liz Truss that current help has been “insufficient” and urgent action is needed.

They want:

  • Energy price cap rises reversed to October 2021 levels
  • The return of the £20 Universal Credit uplift from the pandemic, and for it to be doubled
  • Nationalisation of the ‘Big 5’ energy firms if they won’t commit to “ceasing the extraction of unfair profits”
  • A “real windfall tax” on corporations making “unjust profits”
  • An increase to Scotland’s block grant to allow fair pay increases for workers

Council leader Susan Aitken, SNP, said the Prime Minister’s planned interventions “do not go anywhere near far enough to provide relief” as she revealed an extra 106,000 households in Glasgow could face fuel poverty over the winter.

In response to a motion by Labour group leader George Redmond, Cllr Aikten said research by the Glasgow City Region intelligence hub indicates “at a conservative estimate, 5,000 more children will be thrust into poverty in the coming months in this city”.

Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.

“An additional 106,000 households will suffer fuel poverty,” she added. “And the income of the poorest fifth of households will be outstripped by the rising cost of basic essentials, it will simply be impossible for them to pay their bills.

“It’s really not possible to overstate how catastrophic this crisis is shaping up to be and so far at least it seems the new PM just doesn’t get it.”

A letter will be sent to the UK Government demanding “immediate actions to address this crisis” after Cllr Redmond’s motion, seconded by Cllr Elaine Gallagher, of the Greens, passed with amendments from the SNP.

It condemned “exorbitant” increases to the energy price cap and “the opportunism of energy companies in taking advantage to increase charges across the board”. Councillors also agreed to write to the Scottish Government to call for direct support to communities and more funding to help open community facilities over winter.

Cllr Redmond said: “People are struggling right now in the city, even capping energy prices today means tens of thousands of households will face an impossible decision whether to turn on the heating or not this winter.”

He said the crisis comes against a backdrop of “a decade of chronic underfunding from the SNP in Holyrood”, with the council losing 6,000 staff since 2008. The Labour leader called on the Scottish Government to prioritise councils and “give us the powers we need to raise much needed revenue”.

Bailie Gallagher said: “The increasing costs, most urgently in electricity and gas bills, but also in rent, and foods and basic goods, are striking the poorest members of our community in far greater proportion to the richest.

She added: “We cannot allow people in our charge and care to die from lack of heating and the illnesses that come from un-liveable conditions. We cannot allow the people who we represent to have to choose between heating and eating. We cannot allow profiteers to enrich themselves over the lives of the people of Glasgow.”

The motion also noted strike action by council staff in response to an “unsatisfactory” pay offer, and welcomed a “new, more equitable pay deal”, which the council hopes is accepted.