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UK Government affirms intent to learn lessons from cost-of-living schemes in response to MPs

18 April 2024

The Scottish Affairs Committee has published the UK Government’s response to its report on the cost-of-living pressures facing rural communities in Scotland.

The Westminster-based Committee found that communities living in remote parts of Scotland faced a ‘rural premium’ which left those households more exposed to rising costs. 

The ‘rural premium’ refers to the higher prices that communities in remote rural areas pay, relative to urban areas, to access the same goods and services. The report highlighted three key areas - energy, food security and transport – and found that rising costs in each sector disproportionately affects rural communities in Scotland.   

In its report, the Scottish Affairs Committee accepted the need for support to be distributed quickly but urged the UK Government to conduct a review looking at the effectiveness of the schemes in addressing issues which affected those in remote and rural parts of Scotland. This would then ensure the UK is better prepared to support those communities should there be a similar crisis in the future.  

In its response, the UK Government confirmed it will undertake evaluations of the different cost-of-living support schemes, as the Committee requested. This work is due to be completed in Summer 2025. 

The UK Government also reaffirmed its position that it prioritised the speedy distribution of support rather than taking more time to tailor schemes to specific groups. It did, however, recognise the Committee’s assertion that the spike in prices affected communities in different ways. 

Chair's comment

Scottish Affairs Committee Chair Pete Wishart MP said:   

“This important report shone a light on the unique challenges faced by rural, remote communities in Scotland who we found are more vulnerable to price increases – particularly in the energy, transport and food sectors. 

As a Committee, we sought to ensure the voices and experiences of those communities are heard in Westminster. I believe we have done that and we look forward to continuing to engage with the UK Government on these issues.” 

Further information

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