THE First Minister has written to Liz Truss to warn her to take urgent and drastic action on the cost-of-living crisis or face “a catastrophic increase in poverty and hardship”.

The new Prime Minister was formally appointed on Tuesday afternoon at a ceremony Balmoral.

Truss faces an “unprecedented economic and cost crisis”, Nicola Sturgeon wrote in the letter.

Amid a storm of soaring inflation, rocketing energy bills and the looming threat of a recession, Truss played her cards close to her chest during the Tory leadership election.

While she is now said to be weighing up a freeze on energy prices until 2024, the new Prime Minister is yet to reveal specific plans to avoid millions being plunged into poverty.

Sturgeon has called on the Prime Minister to either dramatically increase the Scottish Government’s budget or devolve more borrowing powers to Holyrood, so the Edinburgh administration can take measures to tackle the crisis.

She wrote: “It is difficult to overstate the gravity of the situation.  This crisis puts livelihoods – and lives –at risk. The cost of further inaction and delay by the UK Government will be to see millions plunged into poverty and hardship, and would, rightly, be seen as an unforgivable failure of leadership.   

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“In these circumstances I am renewing my request for an emergency meeting with you and the other devolved governments to agree the actions needed to tackle this crisis.”

As well as calling for an urgent meeting if the heads of the devolved governments and Westminster, the First Minister has called on the UK Government to freeze energy bills, to introduce a windfall tax on energy giants profiting from the crisis and an increase in benefits.

Sturgeon called for benefits to be increased in line with inflation and for Universal Credit payments to be increased by £25.

Around £9.3 billion would be raised by “broadening” the Government’s existing energy profits levy, said the First Minister.

This is a measure introduced by former chancellor Rishi Sunak but which was criticised for granting oil and gas giants loopholes to avoid paying more if they made green investments.

It came as the First Minister announced the latest Programme For Government, Holyrood’s legislative plans for the next year.

Among others policies, Sturgeon announced the Scottish Government would introduce a rent freeze.