NICOLA Sturgeon has denied being out-of-touch when it comes to the cost of living crisis despite having a pre-tax household income of more than £200,000 a year.

The SNP leader said she had turned down the thermostat at her Glasgow home when asked how the inflation squeeze had affected her personally.

However she also said she had done so partly because of environmental concerns.

“I’m not a multi-millionaire, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to become a multi-millionaire,” she said.

The First Minister’s total salary in 2020/21 was £135,605, while her husband Peter Murrell was paid £79,750 as chief executive of the SNP, a total of £215,355.

In addition, the Scottish Government's annual accounts say Ms Sturgeon received pension benefits of £41,537 last year. Her salary has been frozen since 2008/09.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking as she entered the final hours of campaigning for tomorrow’s council elections, posing for pictures next to the SNP’s battle bus outside Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

The luxury coach - controversially nicknamed the “gravy bus” by an SNP staffer this week - carries messages down the side about the cost of living crisis.

The slogans urge voters to “send Boris a message” to help “ease the squeeze”.

Ms Sturgeon was asked by the media what she knew personally about the cost of living crisis given her and her husband’s high earnings and if she had done anything because of the crisis, such as turn the thermostat down.

She said: “Yeah, absolutely, we have both for cost reasons, also for environmental reasons. So in terms of energy efficiency we’re doing a lot of things to try to lower our energy use.

“But I’m not going to sit here and pretend that my experience is the same as other people, but I know a lot of people in my own sort of wider network that are really struggling right now.

“I live in Glasgow, in a street where.. I’m pretty certain people will be feeling the squeeze.

“I’m not going to pretend that my personal experience, given the job I do and the income I have, is the same as others.

“But given my background and my kind of family background and everything, I do know what it is like to struggle.”

Asked whether she was just as out of touch as the politicians in other parties she said were remote from voters’ lives, Ms Sturgeon said: “No, I don’t say things like people should just buy cheaper food, because I know for many people that is not an option. 

“They’re already buying the cheapest things, they’re already cutting back.

“I speak to lots of people, people I know, who are doing things like that. 

“I don’t say it would be silly to help [like Chancellor Rishi Sunak]. 

“Whatever you say about my income - and my income, because of the job I do, obviously puts me in a position that's different to the majority.”

When it was put to her that she was in fact “set for life”, the SNP leader said: “I don’t actually think that’s the case. I’m not a multi-millionaire, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to become a multi-millionaire.”

She went on: “My criticism of the UK [ministers] is actually not on the personal circumstances, although Boris Johnson and particularly Rishi Sunak are in a different stratosphere to me.

“My criticism is on the tin-eared comments they’re making that show that they don’t understand or don’t care, and crucially my criticism is they hold lots of powers and access to lots of resources that could be putting money in people’s pockets right now and they’re choosing not to do it.”