Reports Warn of Return to Austerity and Fiscal Stimulus Failure

The SNP has reiterated that Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands – after key post-Budget reports criticised the Chancellor’s spending plans for falling well short of what is required, and warning of a return to austerity.

In its post-Budget analysis, the IFS concluded that Sunak’s spending plans “don’t look deliverable, at least not without considerable pain” – with IFS analyst Carl Emmerson warning that: “There’s going to be something that feels a bit like austerity for at least some public services if we are going to keep to these spending plans.”

The IFS also warned that the Universal Credit cliff-edge it has created “will mean overnight reductions in incomes,” which can “create real difficulties” for struggling families.

Separately, the IPPR concluded that the Chancellor “is gambling on a highly optimistic scenario” and failed to “Boost it like Biden” by providing less than half the stimulus required to deal with the scale of the challenge.

It added that there was a “striking lack of new support for public services, little public investment and no lasting boost to welfare for those hit hardest by the crisis.”

“The result is the risk of a lopsided recovery, where higher earners and big businesses bounce back quickly, but low earners and small businesses will feel the dire consequences of the pandemic for years to come.” 

Commenting, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP (pictured) said:

“As the dust settles, the devil in the detail is becoming clearer.

“For all the rhetoric, the grim reality is that the Chancellor’s spending plans failed to bring forward the stimulus required to deal with the challenges, and debunked the Tories’ anti-austerity claims.

“With the IFS warning of ‘considerable pain’ and the IPPR highlighting that struggling families and businesses will feel the ‘dire consequences’ for years to come, it’s clear that Scotland faces a choice of two futures.

“The SNP repeatedly called for an economic plan to kickstart our recovery.

“Instead, the Chancellor signalled a return to austerity, failed to heed calls to ‘Boost it like Biden’ with a stimulus package, created a Universal Credit cliff-edge, and refused to address the Brexit elephant in the room.

“When millions of struggling households and businesses were looking for real support, they were instead dealt a devastating card that will only add to the hardship.

“Scotland can do so much better.

“We can either suffer the long-term damage of Brexit and Tory austerity cuts at Westminster, or instead grab 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.”