Shetland’s MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart, following a visit to the Shetland Foodbank and a recent parliamentary event on fuel poverty, has highlighted the squeeze on household incomes for islanders. Food, household items and energy costs have all increased in the last few months.
Shetland already hosts high levels of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty. The fishing industry and NFUS have also cited the impact of rising costs on those sectors.
Liberal Democrats across Holyrood and Westminster are pressing for more action from the UK and Scottish Governments to help, including:
- Cutting VAT to 17.5%
- Investing in insulation
- Boosting disability benefits
- Reversing the £250m cut to councils
- Cancelling the National Insurance hike
In October Wishart called for a doubling of the Warm Home Discount to prevent pensioners going cold in winter. Wishart has previously called for an eradication of fuel poverty by doubling the Scottish Government’s fuel poverty budgets. Ms Wishart also backs Shetland Tariff proposals and recently questioned why wind chill is not taken into account in Cold Weather Payments.
Ms Wishart said:
“The war in Ukraine has brought to the fore the issue of energy security. When there is uncertainty in the market it helps to raise the price across all goods and services. We have also experienced shortages in materials after the Covid-19 lockdown measures on top of disruption in trade rules after leaving the EU.
“Not only should we be tackling energy security we should be addressing food security too. With prices rising it is becoming more expensive to import food as well as grow it at home.
“And it’s not just what’s harvested on land. Fish is an excellent source of nutrition but high fuel costs could mean that resource become less available and more expensive.
“Liberal Democrats are calling for a host of measures from a cut in VAT, to insulating homes, to reversing the National Insurance tax hike.
“Heating or eating should not be a consideration for anyone but that is the reality for too many people in 2022.”