Chancellor Threatening Recovery With Return to Tory Austerity Cuts

The SNP has said the Chancellor is “threatening Scotland’s recovery with a return to Tory austerity cuts” – when a major fiscal stimulus is needed for an investment-led recovery.

Ahead of the Budget, Ian Blackford (pictured) said the Tories had “failed to learn the lessons of the pandemic and are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past” by imposing cuts, when the economy needs investment and fundamental change to deliver a strong and fair recovery.

The SNP Westminster Leader said it was increasingly clear that “Scotland faces a choice of two futures” – the long-term damage of Brexit and Tory cuts at Westminster, or the opportunity to secure our place in Europe and a strong, fair and green recovery as an independent country.

In a letter to the Chancellor, the SNP has called for five key measures at the Budget:

A £98billion fiscal stimulus to kick-start an investment-led recovery – with investment focused on creating jobs, boosting incomes and a green recovery.

Extend the furlough scheme and plug the gaps in support – including a package for the three million people who have been completely excluded for a year.

Tackle child poverty and boost household incomes – by matching the Scottish Child Payment across the UK, ditching the Tory public sector pay freeze, making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to legacy benefits.

Long-term investment for the NHS – matching the Scottish Government’s £500 ‘Thank you’ payment, delivering a pay rise for health and care staff, and increasing NHS funding to the higher level per head in Scotland – delivering an extra £35billion for NHS England and £4billion for NHS Scotland in Barnett consequentials.

A multi-billion Brexit compensation package for Scotland – mitigating the damage done by Boris Johnson’s deal and following the EU’s €1.05billion for Ireland.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“The Tories are threatening Scotland’s recovery with a return to austerity cuts – when the economy needs maximum investment to stimulate growth, create jobs and boost incomes.

“You cannot cut your way to recovery.

“The Chancellor must ditch damaging Tory plans for a public sector pay freeze and cuts to Universal Credit – and deliver a major fiscal stimulus of at least £98billion, to plug the gaps in covid support and kickstart an investment-led recovery.

“The UK has suffered the worst slump of any major economy, unemployment is rising, and millions of families have seen their incomes slashed. We cannot afford a repeat of the Thatcher years – when the Tories left people on the scrap heap by failing to act.

“Covid has exposed the deep inequalities that exist under the broken Westminster system.

“After a decade of Tory cuts, many families are on the breadline and 4.2million children are languishing in poverty.

“Fundamental change is needed to build a fairer society but instead the Tories are returning to type with a cuts agenda.

“They have failed to learn the lessons of the pandemic and are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

“It is clear that Scotland faces a choice of two futures – the long-term damage of Brexit and Tory austerity cuts at Westminster, or the opportunity to protect our place in Europe and build a strong, fair and green recovery as an independent country.

“The issue at the election in May will be this: who has the right to decide what sort of country we should be after the pandemic – the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson?

“With both votes SNP we can put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”