A HOLYROOD committee report has urged the UK Government to hand “significant” borrowing powers to Holyrood to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis – but Tory and Labour MSPs failed to back the recommendation.

A pre-budget report published by Holyrood’s social justice and social security committee highlighted how it has heard evidence rising costs are creating a “social emergency”, including seeing “increasingly seeing hungry children”.

The committee has called on the Scottish Government to take action such as increasing benefits in line with inflation, saying social security has a “vital role” in supporting those with low incomes.

However the report also cautions that reprioritising spending will “only go so far and will not provide a climate where Scotland can thrive”.

It highlighted evidence given by Dr Alison Hosie, research officer with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, on the issue of tackling the current economic situation and rising inflation.

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In a previous committee session she noted the rest of the world "have all been using borrowing powers", adding: "The lack of them is, therefore, a significant limitation, and requesting that borrowing powers be significantly improved is a legitimate ask of the Government in the reassessment of the fiscal framework.”

The report stated: “In light of the evidence received which outlines the difficulties the Scottish Government faces in responding to crises without such powers, we request the UK Government devolves significant borrowing powers.”

SNP MSP Emma Roddick, who sits on the committee, said: "This new report shows clearly that the devolution settlement is not fit for purpose.

The National:

"As the cost of living crisis deepens, the Scottish Government is already using the powers it has - but, as is clear in today's report, the Scottish Parliament needs borrowing powers from Westminster to go further.

"The poverty-accelerating welfare policies of the Tories must be reversed and the Scottish Tories need to decide if they will stand up for the people of Scotland or their bosses at Westminster.

"It's only the full powers of independence that protect Scotland from cruel Westminster policies for good - and ensure that decisions about Scotland are taken in Scotland."

But the report also noted the four committee members from opposition parties “dissented” from this recommendation – Conservative MSPs Jeremy Balfour and Miles Briggs, along with Labour’s Pam Duncan-Glancy and Foysol Choudhury.

In April, the Scottish Government announced it would be uprating devolved benefits by 6%, but since, inflation has risen to 10.1% and the committee has urged ministers to further increase the safety net, or provide “detailed justification as to why not”.

The report stated: “We recognise the importance of maintaining the real-terms value of benefits. Therefore, we expect the Scottish Government to uprate all Scottish benefits by the September Consumer Prices Index of 10.1% and if this does not happen, we require detailed justification as to why not.”

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SNP MSP Natalie Don, who is deputy convenor of the committee, said: “The current cost crisis risks causing severe damage to people and organisations throughout Scotland.

“Our committee believes that by following through on its initial good work to develop a human rights budget process, the Scottish Government can ensure that the voices of people and organisations who are on the front line of the cost crisis will be heard.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has a legal duty to publish a report each year that sets out the impact of inflation on social security benefits, and our plans for the next financial year. We will do this in due course.

“In April we doubled the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week per eligible child and this will further increase to £25 per week from 14 November – a rise of 150% in less than eight months providing important additional support for low-income families, which is only available in Scotland.

“In March we also uprated eight other Scottish benefits by 6%, which was significantly higher than the 3.1% CPI by which most UK Government benefits were increased.”