Wherever I go there is one question that is at the front of people’s minds – what are our governments doing to help with the cost of living crisis?
From rising energy bills to the price of the weekly shop, it is getting harder and harder for so many Scots to make ends meet.
One of the most frustrating changes for so many people is that the cost of just getting to work keeps going up.
From district nurses who’ve seen the price of filling up their tank skyrocket, to the childcare worker whose bus fares are leaving them with less and less to get by with every week – people want politicians at every level to do more to help.
While Rishi Sunak has been distracted with scandals elsewhere, everyone else has noticed that petroleum companies haven’t even passed on his pathetic attempts to support cash-strapped drivers.
Instead, Boris Johnson’s government is hammering people with over 15 Tory tax rises.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP push on with rises to rail fares and plans for a commuter tax which could see some people charged for driving to work.
Together that means Scots are left with two bad governments leaving them out of pocket before they even clock in at the office.
That is why last week – when I launched Scottish Labour’s local election manifesto – I outlined plans that would mean we could cap bus fares at £1.80 a journey and halve the price of rail tickets.
So as an example, if someone was getting the train regularly from Glasgow to Edinburgh they would save over £400 in the next three months.
Because Scotland needs a public transport network that gets you where you need to go, without costing the earth.
But the SNP’s failure to regulate our buses or use their powers over ScotRail means you are paying more money for less reliable services.
This is just one example of how the cost of failure from the SNP and the Tories is driving this cost of living crisis.
It has been ten years since Nicola Sturgeon promised an integrated transport system for Scotland – with a single ‘Oyster card’ style system across our bus, train and ferry networks.
A decade later and if you wanted to travel from the Southside of Glasgow to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull you’d have to buy a separate ticket for two buses, a train and a ferry – each run by a separate company to a different timetable .
That is if the ferry is even running.
If the SNP hadn’t wasted the last 15 years with a series of PR stunts and an obsession with division we might have made some progress in making our transport system work for Scotland, not the companies who try to profit from it.
But instead, as we face the largest cost of living crisis in a generation, commuters face being treated like cash machines by ministers who failed to fix the roof while the sun was shining.
Every politician should be working to keep your bills down. If you elect Scottish Labor Councilors on May 5, my promise to you is that they will be their first priority.
Fiver increase isn’t enough for struggling families
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking examples of the cost of government failure was revealed by the Record and my colleague Pam Duncan-Glancy last week.
Reading that more than 150,000 children in Scotland are missing out on the Scottish Child Payment laid bare the real price we pay for an SNP government more interested in spin than substance.
Increasing the Scottish Child Payment would be a welcome move – but poverty experts have said that the £5 increase offered by the SNP isn’t enough to meet our child poverty targets.
That is why Labor pledged to double it.
But perhaps even more depressingly 377,000 children who should be eligible for the full payment aren’t getting it because of dither and delay by the SNP.
Even that £5 increase won’t hit families’ bank accounts until December.
But as fuel prices and national insurance increases bite, surely now is the time to double down and get this change done.
Simply pointing at the Tories and saying they aren’t doing enough isn’t good enough.
The SNP could back our public transport plans, deliver a £100 water charge rebate, and introduce a £400 payment for those families who need it the most.
That would put money in the pockets of those who need it now.
It is all too easy to forget that when stories slip from the headlines the damage to people’s lives doesn’t go away.
Ferry workers still need our support
On Friday I stood with the P&O workers illegally sacked at Cairnryan. They deserve justice.
Those workers need to see their jobs reinstated and the management’s criminal behavior prosecuted.
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