THE SNP has slammed Westminster’s lack of action regarding the cost of living crisis after a new report showed “millions” were living in poverty.

The report by Christians Against Poverty (CAP) reveals that 47% of their clients sacrificed meals and 45% went without heating.

It also highlighted that over a third of CAP clients had considered or attempted suicide as a way out of debt.

SNP work and pensions spokesperson Kirsty Blackman said: “This report is a harrowing read. Millions are being pushed into, or further into, debt, poverty and destitution as the cost of living crisis continues to bite – yet the UK government refuses to lift a finger.

“In Scotland, the Scottish Government is using its limited powers and fixed budgets to take action to support people through this Tory made crisis.

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“They have uprated benefits, doubled the unique Scottish Child Payment and are spending £83 million on mitigating the UK government’s cruel bedroom tax and benefit cap.”

The charity has said the key reasons for debt are chronically low income and/or an unexpected change in circumstances.

The SNP has now called for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to scrap the debt-inducing five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, which leads people to take advance payment loans, and bring in a non-repayable grant instead.

Blackman added: “In contrast to the DWP, Social Security Scotland does not deduct money from benefits to repay loans.

“But what would make a real difference is if people were paid a Real Living Wage, which would see less people to relying on benefits and ensure they had a good standard of living.

“With employment powers reserved to Westminster, this is the UK Government’s responsibility – yet they have repeatedly failed to take action.”

Statistics also showed that 46% of those surveyed couldn’t afford basic toiletries whilst 61% struggled to afford weather appropriate clothing.

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Blackman said: “As a result of bad Tory policies, we are at a place now where there is no safety net, low wages and insecure work, and all of this is being compounded by the cost of living crisis.

“With no real opposition to the Tories at Westminster, independence is the only way we can protect people in Scotland from their inaction and recklessness.”