HUMZA Yousaf has committed to a £1 million Scottish Government fund for “small, community-based” organisations helping people with the cost of living should he become first minister.

The SNP leadership candidate has vowed to campaign for a socially just independent Scotland.

He said that as leader he will “fight tooth and nail” against a failing Westminster system that has let down working families during the cost of living crisis.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Mayfield and East Housing Development Trust Community Café in Midlothian, Yousaf said: “It is Westminster that has the power to cut sky high bills for Scottish households today. Yet, the Tory government are sitting on their hands instead of cutting energy costs.

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“With the fall in energy prices, the Tories must deliver a fall in energy bills and properly tax windfall profits.

“As first minister, I will work with the SNP’s Westminster team to hold the Tories to account for this cost of living crisis.”

The Scottish Health Secretary spoke of his “pride” at John Swinney’s “progressive budget” helping to deliver as much as £2000 into the pockets of families across the country.

He continued: “I want to help vital community organisations that are helping people with support for their own costs.

“Community action is vital to improving people’s health, homes and quality of life. Having been a volunteer myself I know how important it is to people when someone offers a helping hand.

“A huge number of these lifeline organisations are facing a cost of operating crisis, struggling with energy costs, rent and other running costs.”

Yousaf has already said he would introduce a major rollout of free childcare should he win the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.

He promised to roll out free early learning for all one and two-year-olds for up to 22 hours a week.

On Wednesday evening, Yousaf faced off against his rivals in the leadership race Ash Regan and Kate Forbes at a hustings in Cumbernauld.

He added: “To support these third sector organisations get through this cost crisis, as first minister I will propose a new £1 million Scottish Government fund focused on a small, community-based voluntary organisations providing cost of living support, income maximisation services and community support.

“Because if we allow these organisations to go under, the costs of picking up the pieces will be much higher.”