MSPs will return from parliament’s summer recess next week to face a growing array of crises.
The most acute is the cost of living crisis, especially soaring energy bills. With millions more households set to be plunged into fuel poverty this winter, the country needs co-operation between the UK and Scottish governments, rather than more bickering.
Yet the rudderless UK Government has so far sat on its hands, with no meaningful response to the eye-watering new energy price cap announced last week. Meanwhile, the SNP government claims it does not have the powers to help either.
That is why Labour is calling for a windfall tax to increase financial support and an energy price freeze across the UK to help hard-pressed consumers. We have also outlined plans for an emergency cost of living act at Holyrood to freeze rents, cut the cost of commuting and support businesses.
Our plans demonstrate how the Scottish Parliament’s powers can be used to provide immediate assistance to people, especially those in greatest need.
We can also use those powers to deal with other problems. Our A&E services are now in the longest running crisis in living memory. Thousands of people are facing unacceptable waits every week. Despite the heroic efforts of staff, A&E is in chaos due to lack of capacity in the NHS. Ministers must stop blaming Covid and deal with long-term underlying staffing issues.
We also have a local services crisis, with rubbish continuing to pile up in the streets. This is due to the Scottish Government having cut council funding to the bone. We have published plans for reforming and renewing politics here, including guaranteeing fair funding settlements for local government based on the services it delivers.
This is about putting place and people at the heart of our politics again – instead of division – and building a better future for all of Scotland.