Nicola Sturgeon slams ‘disgusting’ Tory government over budget mini-statement

Nicola Sturgeon has accused the UK government of ‘saving’ money for pre-election bribes which could have been given to the poor now.

The prime minister called a think tank’s critical analysis of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mini-budget “totally damning”.

Sunak’s spring statement, amid soaring inflation and energy costs, was widely criticized for its lack of measures to help low-income people.

Benefits will rise by 3.1%, compared to projected inflation which has nearly doubled that level, and Sunak has also promised an income tax of 1 pence within two years.

This latest policy has been widely interpreted as a pre-election giveaway.

An analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that people at the bottom of the income scale were the hardest hit by the changes.

Sturgeon tweeted: “This @jrf_uk The illustration is quite damning of the Chancellor’s decisions yesterday. Scattering money for pre-election bribes when he could use it now to help people in the most desperate of circumstances is disgusting.

The JFR estimated that around 400,000 people could be pushed into poverty due to the cut in benefits in April.

They said the research showed the “dramatic consequences” of the government’s decision to increase benefits by 3.1% in April, when inflation was expected to reach 7%.

The charity said it represented a reduction in real terms in the incomes of some of the country’s poorest families, just months after the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit.

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Dorothy H. Lewis