Most Scots want plan ‘to change the UK rather than independence’ as cost of living crisis grows

Gordon Brown has challenged the Scottish Government to work more closely with Westminster in order to tackle the cost of living crisis gripping the country.

The former prime minister said the public wanted to see “cooperation – not confrontation” at a time when household costs are soaring due to inflation and rising fuel bills.

Brown pointed to a new poll commissioned by his Our Scottish Future think-tank which shows that 40 per cent of people already rate their finances as “tight” or “struggling”.

The survey, carried out by Stack Data Strategy, found that 48 per cent of Scots also fear their financial situation will worsen over the next 12 months.

Brown said: “From April, when the new energy prices kick in, the number of people in fuel poverty will rise from 750,000 to 1.2 million overnight and it could even go much higher by October without compensatory action.

“Neither the UK nor the Scottish Governments are doing enough.

“And what’s more they are not bothering to cooperate when together they should be making a sustained impact on poverty across our land.”

Former PM Gordon Brown

The survey also found 47 per cent of the 2,005 Scots asked said they would support a “serious plan to change Britain” over the country becoming independent, while 22 per cent disagreed.

Brown is now calling on the UK Government to delay the double-impact benefit cuts and tax rises at the spring statement next week.

The former Labour leader also wants SNP ministers to rethink their “flawed” council tax rebate with financial assistance instead being prioritised for the least well-off.

He added: “People prefer a plan for Scotland to deal with this crisis in which we mobilise all the resources of Britain.

“In the short term, that means that we need to offer help with heating and living costs to give much needed relief to families – well beyond the insufficient offer made by UK and Scottish governments so far in that’s clear what should be done.”

Brown, along with regional Labour leaders across England and Wales, is demanding “a UK-wide change of policy on tax, benefit levels and heating help”.

The former PM continued: “What is needed is a plan that makes Britain work for the people of Scotland that starts by solving the cost of living crisis now and then in the years to come by employing all the resources of the UK to the benefit of Scotland.

“Cooperation between Scotland and the UK – not confrontation or conflict between the two – is essential for the near-term recovery of Scotland and for the medium and long term prosperity of the Scottish people.”

He added: “One demand all could unite around is to restore the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift taken from six million families only a few months ago – worth £1000 a year.

“But the Scottish Government must also fundamentally change their own plan.

“They should at least double the money they have so far made available, directing the bulk of funds to the poorest and frailest who need it most.”

The Record has asked the Scottish Government for comment.

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