CONSERVATIVE MPs shouted and heckled over Ian Blackford’s warnings over the impending cost of living crisis in the UK during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The SNP’s Westminster leader alerted members to the fact that new research from the Resolution Foundation shows families will be £1200 worse off from April, adding it will have a “catastrophic” impact on millions of households across the UK.

"For members of the Tory government, £1200 might not seem like very much. For the Foreign Secretary, it's just another taxpayer-funded lunch in Mayfair. For the Prime Minister, it's just a roll of fancy wallpaper for his taxpayer-funded flat.

"But for the vast majority of families, losing £1200 a year will be catastrophic. For some, it will mean they can't afford to pay their rent and bills, heat their homes, or put food on the table.”

Blackford urged Boris Johnson to announce an emergency financial package to limit the impact of the cost of living crisis.

But as Blackford spoke, the opposition members brayed. In his response, Johnson said he found the MP’s criticism “hard to take”, describing him as the “humble crofter” while his frontbenchers looked on laughing.

The Conservative leader claimed that his party is “helping families up and down the country” by changing the Universal Credit taper rate and increasing the Living Wage.

He also said that his government’s ability to keep the economy “going” through the pandemic has led to higher employment rates.

Blackford was unimpressed by the reaction to his question on the cost of living crisis, telling members: “So much for a new year, a new start, because it’s the same nonsense from this failing Prime Minister.

"Under this Prime Minister, the UK already has the worst levels of poverty and inequality in north west Europe. Now, the Tories are making millions of families even poorer,” he went on.

"In Scotland, the SNP government is mitigating this Tory poverty crisis - by doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week.

"The Prime Minister must match the Scottish Government by introducing a £20 child payment across the UK, and other measures including an energy payment for low income households - or the Tories will push even more families into poverty this year."

But Johnson said Blackford was talking “total nonsense”.

“This is a government that is absolutely determined, as I’ve said throughout this pandemic, particularly to look after the poorest and the neediest. Which is what the Chancellor did with all his packages, they were extremely progressive in their effect.

“His fundamental point is wrong, he’s just wrong. Actually, if you look at the statistics economic inequality is down, income inequality is down, and poverty is down. I tell you why, because we get people into jobs.”

Despite Johnson’s claims, charities are warning that UK households – facing a rise in National Insurance contributions, steep energy bill increases and rising inflation – could soon see record levels of fuel poverty.

Statistics from the UK Government itself show that the number of children in poverty rose by 600,000 between 2011 and 2019, with a further 150,000 expected to have been plunged into poverty since the beginning of the pandemic.

Johnson’s comment on employment increasing is backed up by figures from the ONS, which show employment increased by 0.2 percentage points in the third quarter of 2022, mainly driven by more people going in to part-time work – something which was hit hard by the pandemic.

The National: Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner

During PMQs, Angela Rayner (above), stepping in for Keir Starmer who has tested positive for Covid-19 today, attacked the Tories over the cost of living.

She warned that thousands of families face a “disaster” due to tax rises and energy costs, telling the Commons: "The Prime Minister and his Chancellor have presided over economic mismanagement, low growth and neglect of our public services.

“And their resolution to fix this? Whacking more taxes on working people.

“Combine the tax rise with soaring energy prices and the average family faces a hit of £1200 – this is an iceberg right ahead, so will he finally stop and change course … or will he plough on to what will be a disaster for thousands of families?”

Johnson insisted the Government has taken steps to help people, including with Universal Credit (which was cut by £20 a week last year) and the minimum wage, and also “keep this country open, keep our economy moving”.

He said: “We will continue to look after people throughout the pandemic.”

Later on Wednesday, Downing Street suggested there are no imminent plans to take fresh action to deal with high energy prices.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I’m not aware of any further changes at the moment, but obviously we keep it under review, we are listening to those most affected.”