I KNOW from my advice surgeries and the correspondence I receive that many families are struggling to cope with the Westminster-imposed cost-of-living crisis.

The crashed UK economy has caused sky-high inflation and ever-rising mortgage costs.

Food inflation, especially, is a problem, standing at an astonishing 19.2 per cent – the highest level in 45 years.

The UK is suffering the biggest fall in living standards since records began and respected think tank the Resolution Foundation has found that 15 years of stagnating wages have left the average UK worker £11,000 worse off per year.

Their analysis also shows that typical UK household incomes are falling further behind neighbouring European countries, with household incomes in Germany now £4,000 better off than those in the UK, compared to £500 in 2008.

We are also seeing the economy hit by the madness of Brexit that was imposed by the Tories and is now the stated policy of the Labour Party.

Brexit alone is forecast to deal a four per cent hit, with UK imports and exports expected to be 15 per cent lower than if the UK had remained in the European Union.

The SNP government are using the full powers of the Scottish Parliament to provide a range of support to help deal with this crisis.

This includes the Scottish Child Payment, which is predicted to lift 50,000 children out of poverty.

The mitigation of the Tory benefit cap and bedroom tax was essential too.

In response to massive energy costs, we have tripled the Fuel Insecurity Fund to £30million to support anyone at risk of self-disconnection or self-rationing their energy use.

Scotland has the most generous childcare offer anywhere in the UK, with plans being developed to go further.

We are also investing in affordable homes, the majority of which will be for social rent.

The Scottish Government will continue to do everything it can, using its limited powers and budget, to break the cycle of poverty and support people during this cost crisis.

But progress has been hindered by the devastating impact of the UK Government’s decade of austerity and its welfare cuts for many Scottish families.

The Tory government has also repeatedly failed to step in and use its powers to support people. Instead, they favour their rich pals.

We cannot trust the pro-Brexit Labour Party to stand up for the people of Scotland any more than we can trust the Tories.

Keir Starmer has taken them so far to the right that they are now just a pale imitation of the Tories – backing Brexit, supporting brutal austerity and attacking devolution.

This demonstrates, yet again, why Scotland needs the full powers of independence to end poverty and see our country thrive.