East Lothian Courier – 16 June 2022


Parliament last week was again dominated by the spectre of the Prime Minister. Despite losing the support of over 40% of his Parliamentary group he hangs on shamelessly. He’s been weakened though and it seems just a matter of time before he goes. However, whoever replaces him from the Tory benches will have been complicit in the shambles created by a government, interested only its self-enrichment.

Fuel and the cost of living remain the major issues and the worry of many increases by the day. I met last week with Scottish Power representatives. They’ve warned of further rises still to come and spoken in favour of a social tariff. That would ensure that those most vulnerable and hardest hit would be protected by a lower rate. Belgium operates one and there’s no technical reason that it couldn’t be done here.

As it is in this country those who are poorest pay most, as they’re on pre-payment meters with Higher standing charges and tariffs. I asked the PM to end that injustice and implement a social tariff but he simply waffled as is his norm. Many will suffer through that callous disregard.

At the pumps with fuel nearing £2 a litre many doing vital work are finding themselves in a position not just of increased costs in getting to work but paying to carry out their duties. Care workers and health visitors are finding their mileage rate doesn’t cover the fuel they use. Others will be likewise in different jobs, which also require driving.

That’s because the Chancellor has failed to increase the Treasury mileage rate which is the basis for tax relief and taken as the template by local government and private business. It’s absurd that many who are low paid anyway, are being expected to pay out of their own pocket to do essential work.

Finally, just when you think the government can sink no lower, down they plunge. Last week saw refugees sent to Rwanda a land itself troubled with human rights issues. Not every refugee can or should remain. But treating them decently until a decision’s made’s essential.