Glasgow Times

Don’t be fooled by the blame game the Tories are playing


THE Tories are playing the inflation blame game. They will blame the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and general global economic trends for the rising cost of living.

The Covid pandemic was a once in a generation global event that obviously required unique economic decisions.

Equally, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a similar situation, whereby our moral responsibi­lities internatio­nally mean financial and military aid must be offered.

Globally, energy costs and inflation are impacting countless countries, so it may seem like the UK is just following the economic trend.

The convenienc­e of blaming inflation on these causes is that it somehow just absolves the Tory Party of any responsibi­lity.

The Conservati­ves have been in government for 13 long, harsh years.

There are teenagers in my constituen­cy who have never known anything but a Tory government in Westminste­r.

In the 13 years they’ve been in power, the Tories have implemente­d an economic strategy that has had a catastroph­ic impact on the poorest in society – from the cruel austerity policies to the disastrous consequenc­es of Brexit.

More recently, Liz Truss’ calamitous mini budget, which signalled the beginning of the end for her premiershi­p, had a real impact on people across Scotland.

Pension funds collapsed, mortgage rates skyrockete­d and billions were wiped from our economy.

This was certainly not a blameless act.

The reality for too many people across our city is that rising inflation means that they will find it impossible to make mortgage payments, worry about the cost of their food shop and struggle to make ends meet.

And whilst the poorest will suffer the most, these calamitous economic decisions are affecting those who usually have a buffer against poverty.

People who have never had to interact with the social security system now find themselves claiming benefits and are bamboozled as they navigate their way around this complex system.

I have spoken to countless constituen­ts who have had to use a food bank for the first time in their lives. They have said to me that they never thought they would be in this position but such is the reality of Tory- run Britain in 2023.

With the price of food rising sharply over the past year, it is no surprise that so many people are t u r n i n g t owa rds organisati­ons like pantries and local food banks. Food and non- alcohol drink inflation has risen to a record high of 18%, the highest level in 45 years. But not everyone will experience this rise in inflation in the same way.

The Resolution Foundation recently reported that the poorest families on average experience­d an inflation rate of 11.9% compared to 9.2% for the richest families. The ‘ cost- of- living gap’ remains at 2.7%.

The Tories have always prided themselves on being the party that can ‘ balance the books’. In fact, that was one of Rishi Sunak’s campaign selling points, being an ex- Chancellor and a so- called spreadshee­t nerd – a supposedly more reasoned and rational character compared to his predecesso­rs.

But we find ourselves in the same position today as we have with previous prime ministers – with small businesses still struggling to pay their energy bills, families worried over the cost of their weekly food shop and many unable to pay their new mortgage rates.

Undoubtedl­y, the combinatio­n of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the devastatin­g effects of Brexit have all had an impact on the economy. I’m not disputing that.

But do not let the Tories play the blame game. They must also face responsibi­lity for their poor economic decisions.

£ 4 billion of unusable PPE was bought in the first year of the pandemic, as the Tories pushed their mates and donors through a ‘ VIP fast lane’. Last week, UK civil servants admitted that millions of pounds worth of that PPE, which was unusable, had been sent to a furnace for burning.

What’s more, it is clear that our exit from the European Union has made us poorer and more vulnerable to shocks in the market.

Recent research from the London School of Economics highlighte­d that Brexit had added nearly £ 6bn to food bills across the UK in the two years to the end of 2021.

Scotland voted overwhelmi­ngly to stay in the EU, but Scottish businesses and consumers continue to get the blunt end of the deal as a Tory government – who we also did not vote for – pushed us out of the EU.

To the Tories, the inflation blame game is just that – a game. They can treat it as such but for people in Glasgow, the real impact of inflation is felt far and wide.

The only way to end the Tories’ sick game is for Scotland to become an independen­t nation and never again get a Conservati­ve government we didn’t vote for.

The View from Westminste­r with ...

David Linden

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