FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to Boris Johnson demanding an emergency meeting of the Heads of Government Council over the cost of living crisis.

Johnson is currently on a honeymoon break to a plush eco-friendly hotel in Slovenia, and has not made any public appearances since the Bank of England (BoE) announced last week that the UK is set to descend into a lengthy recession, and will see a hike in interest rates and inflation is predicted to peak at 13%.

And now, the Scottish FM has written to the “caretaker” Prime Minister demanding a planned meeting of the intergovernmental council for September to be brought forward to deal with the “fast deteriorating” situation.

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Number 10 confirmed they had received the letter and would respond "in due course", claiming that senior officials were already in the process of setting up a four-nation meeting at Johnson's behest. A spokesperson said this was in line with previous requests from devolved administrations that "these meetings are meaningfully planned for in advance".

It comes after the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged the PM to recall the House of Commons to allow MPs to debate the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills.

Last week, Ofgem announced that the price cap on utility bills will now be set every three months instead of six, with customers expecting to pay up to £3850 in October.

In her letter to Johnson, the First Minister proposed that the Heads of Government council meet “as soon as possible” to discuss steps to help the most vulnerable and plan ahead for the winter months.

The four-nation group is made up of the heads of the UK, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments. 

She wrote: “While we will continue to take all actions available to us within devolved responsibilities and budgets - the Scottish Government is investing almost £3 billion this year in a range of measures which will help address the cost of living pressures - it is a statement of fact that many of the levers which would make the biggest difference lie with the UK Government.

The National: Johnson has been on holiday while the costs of living crisis worsensJohnson has been on holiday while the costs of living crisis worsens

“It is also the case that only the UK Government can access and make available resources on the scale required.

“Therefore, actions by devolved governments alone - though important - will not be enough to meet the unprecedented challenges we face.”

The FM added that those on low incomes need the government to take action immediately as they are “increasingly vulnerable” to rising household costs.

Sturgeon also called for a “substantial plan” to be developed ahead of autumn and winter to avert a “crisis of unprecedented proportions”.

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“A crisis in which many people will be unable to feed themselves and their families or heat their homes,” she added.

Those on low incomes, the First Minster told Johnson, are being hit hardest and she called for “targeted support” rather than “an irresponsible reduction in broad-based taxes which will benefit the relatively better off over those most in need”.

“It is also vital that any tax cuts introduced by the UK Government do not result in tighter controls on spending which will impact on delivery of public services already under immense pressure.”

Referencing the BoE’s announcement on the incoming recession due to hit the UK, Sturgeon said the crisis requires “clear, focused and determined leadership and co-operation to develop and deliver - at pace - a package of interventions to protect those most impacted”.

The FM added: “The Scottish Government recognises our responsibility and is committed to doing all we can.

“However, we cannot respond on the scale required without action by your Government. Such action is needed now and I will make myself and my officials available so that a meeting can take place this week.”

Sharing the lengthy letter on social media, the FM added: “The cost of living crisis is worsening by the day. Food, energy & housing costs are soaring & destitution is a stark prospect for many. “@scotgov will do everything we can & I will convene our Resilience Committee this week, but the key powers/resources are held by the UK govt.

“Action is needed now and a clear plan to help those in need must be developed for autumn/winter.

“I have therefore written to the PM seeking a 4 Nations’ Heads of Government Council meeting this week. The current Westminster paralysis can’t go on. People need help now.”

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Asked if the PM will convene an emergency meeting, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressures families across the United Kingdom are facing due to rising prices caused by global challenges.

“That’s why the UK government is providing 689,000 households in Scotland with the £650 cost of living payment, £300 for all Scottish pensioners and £400 to help people with their energy bills.

"We have also provided an extra £82 million for the Scottish Government to help vulnerable families at their discretion - in addition to the significant income tax and welfare powers they already have.

“The UK Government's spending review provided the Scottish Government with a record £41 billion annual settlement for the next three years and we will continue to work collaboratively with them.”