WHAT can the Scottish Government do to help combat the inflating cost of living? Quite a lot actually. Nicola Sturgeon says the UK should take responsibility for galloping food and energy prices and only Westminster has the resources to address the crisis. But Scotland is not an impoverished land.

According to the Scottish Government’s own figures, “Scotland is the 14th richest country in the world in terms of GDP per head” ahead of France and the UK. The Scottish political classes would be wise to look at what they can do right now to help people on low and middle incomes keep their heads above water.

The First Minister has criticised the UK Government’s recent tax increases. Yet she has powers to mitigate those National Insurance rises or indirectly reverse them. She can do this by altering the bands and rates of income tax. If the overall tax burden is too high, lower it.

Alternatively, Ms Sturgeon could restore the 50p additional rate on high earners, many of whom are in the public sector. She has called for a windfall tax on energy companies which is likely to be introduced later this year, but what about a windfall tax on council officials and university principles earning vast salaries on the public purse?

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