South Scotland SNP MSP, Emma Harper has reported an increase in desperate calls being received at her Dumfries office, from constituents concerned about how they will survive into autumn and winter as the costs of everyday consumables continues to rise.

With inflation currently sitting at 9.4% with predictions it will reach 11% by the end of the year, the cost of utilities – gas and electricity – as well as everyday consumer goods such as supermarket food and drink are continuing to rise impacting the most on people with lower incomes.

In response to this, Ms Harper is holding a ‘Cost of Living Advice Surgery’ in partnership with Cllr Stephen Thompson, Co-Leader of Dumfries & Galloway Council, on 17th August at the Salvation Army in Lockerbie and has written to all local residents with details of the surgery where she and Cllr Stephen Thompson will provide advice and support to constituents who are impacted by the spiralling cost of basic living.

Supported by information from Citizens Advice Bureau Ms Harper and Cllr Thompson expect to meet with many constituents face to face on a range of matters including access to basic living requirements such as food, energy, work and education.

Cllr Stephen Thompson, Co-Leader of Dumfries & Galloway Council commented;

“I will be joining Emma Harper MSP at The Salvation Army, Lockerbie on August 17 to hear people’s concerns and help in getting the right advice and support to them. Inflation is rising and this is adding to pressures on household budgets in our local communities. Some people are facing cuts in universal credit, everyone is seeing big increases in energy and food costs and these all impact on families and individuals locally”.

Ms Harper commented;

“Figures from the Office for National Statistics show inflation is now at the highest level since 1982, yet regular pay is falling at the fastest rate since 2001 when taking inflation into account.

“The Resolution Foundation has warned that it is poorer households – those already struggling after a decade of Tory austerity – who are being hit hardest by the rising costs and I am well aware the pressures my constituents are under as I have received a noticeable increase in calls from desperate people contacting my office. People here simply cannot afford the status quo, let alone any further increases in costs from energy suppliers and further costs to food items. So many of them of course have also been hit with Sunak’s cut to universal credit along with the increase in national insurance. Meanwhile Westminster fight amongst themselves to gain pole position in a self-proclaimed ‘Thatcherite’ institution which will only hurt people here more and the UK Government is simply not taking action on tackling the people’s main concern right now – which is the cost of living crisis.

“That is why I am calling an emergency Cost of Living Surgery at the Salvation Army in Lockerbie, in partnership with Cllr Stephen Thompson, on 17 August as I know many people will value face to face contact to access help on a range of matters affecting them right now.”

The Cost of Living Advice Surgery will run as a ‘drop-in’ from 10am until 12pm but people are advised to make an appointment to guarantee a face to face slot.