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RICHARD LOCHHEAD: Cost of living crisis is biting hard

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The cost of living crisis is set to hit people in the UK harder than other countries.

With fuel poverty upon everyone, there are very difficult choices for people to make across the world....to heat their homes or eat.
With fuel poverty upon everyone, there are very difficult choices for people to make across the world....to heat their homes or eat.

That’s what Kristin Forbes - a leading economist and former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee – warned last week.

She went on to say that although people in most countries are feeling the pinch, due to higher energy bills and the impact of the pandemic, pressure on household budgets in the UK is set to be worse and last longer than elsewhere.

So far, the UK Government’s response has shown a complete lack of understanding of the challenges facing households across the country.

Families in Moray and across the country are really feeling the squeeze and yet, the Chancellor has hiked up national insurance and failed to put in place a credible package of support for households struggling to make ends meet.

One UK Government Minister suggested that people struggling with the cost of living should take on more hours or find a better paid job.

Comments like this show the UK Government is completely out of touch.

People in Moray have been feeling the strain on their finances for months now. Many are having to make tough decisions about how they can cut back and what direct debits they can cancel.

People are already working all hours and making big sacrifices to make sure they can pay their bills.

In April, Moray’s food bank supported 701 people – an increase of 38 per cent on the same period last year. Sadly, they expect this will only rise in the coming months as food and energy prices continue to go up.

Folk in Moray don’t need patronising advice from UK Government Ministers – they need urgent action and a response that will put money in their pockets now.

At the start of June, I will be holding a summit in Moray with local organisations on the cost of living crisis to look at how we can work together to support households in Moray that are struggling.

MSP Richard Lochhead
MSP Richard Lochhead

As this is the thing on everyone’s minds now, I’ll be sure to keep the Northern Scot’s readers up to date on action I’m taking.

Another issue that I’m working hard on just now is the lack of NHS dentists in Moray.

In recent weeks I’ve been contacted by many constituents who can’t get registered with an NHS dentist locally and in some cases have been de-registered by their practice.

I have met with NHS Grampian to discuss dental services and I’m told that there are two key factors in terms of recruiting new dentists to the area.

The first being the impact of the pandemic on getting new, graduate dentists into the system. And the second is that less dentists from Europe are choosing to work here.

NHS Grampian did say that funding is available to recruit and retain dentists in Moray and that talks are ongoing with existing practices that are interested in opening new surgeries in Elgin.

I’ve urged NHS Grampian to ensure that access to NHS dental services in Moray is treated as a priority and I’ll be meeting the chief executive again soon to discuss this further.

Anyone affected should call NHS Grampian’s dental advice line on 0345 4565 990.

You can also contact me on richard.lochhead.msp@parliament.scot and I’ll keep you up to date.

Richard Lochhead is the MSP for Moray.

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