Covid and cost of living

Tuesday June 28th 2022

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament Main

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

Let me start with the dreaded word-covid 19. As I write infections are running at more than one in twenty though it must be higher as we are no longer mass testing and reporting results. Cases in hospital are rising and while the vaccine helps against the worst of the infection, for most people, it does not prevent infection.

Now I’m as fed up as the next with restrictions, light though they are just now, but what I don’t want to face is a return to the severity of the restrictions of previous years.

First step is to ensure that you have had your spring booster- if you are in an entitled group. Keeping hands clean, a bit of distancing and even a mask, if you feel unsafe are to be recommended. Let’s together nip this in the bud.

Other bad news is the dreadful increase in the cost of living and energy costs. The Uk is doing worse than any other major nation with inflation, at the time of writing at 9.1%.

Why? Well with the easing of covid the impact of Brexit on the UK economy is there for all to see. Independent experts have placed the losses to the UK economy in the billions. Loss of trade means a loss of revenue means a loss of jobs means a lot less money to support the vulnerable.

As for economic mismanagement during covid, Rishi Sunak wasted £11 billion on interest payments he could have avoided. The UK government also wasted £9 billion on PPE which was so unfit for purpose it is being incinerated. Talk about burning money.

I have called on the UK government to cut VAT on fuel, currently at 20% and of course with each hike in fuel costs there is a reciprocal boost in VAT to Rishi Sunak’s coffers. Given that so many are desperate at least the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit should be reinstated bearing in mind that most people receiving UC are in work.

There is also the issue that 40% of those entitled to Pension Credit are not claiming it. Money Rishi also keeps to himself. None of this is fiction though it’s hard to swallow these facts. In the meantime, it is the vulnerable who pay the price: pensioners, those on low incomes, those with disabilities. Boris and his pals must go and go sooner rather than later.

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