The SNP has told the Tory government to rule out ushering in a new era of devastating austerity, and to instead commit to investment and strengthening welfare protections to protect the economy, jobs and people’s livelihoods.
The call follows a new paper published by Policy Exchange which has urged the UK government to take the “opportunity to move away from the austerity” – stating that “post crisis, the UK needs a pro-growth economic strategy to see a sustained economic recovery that reduces unemployment and brings the public finances back into shape while avoiding austerity.”
A poll included in the findings also revealed strong opposition to spending cuts that would hit public services – with only 16% backing the plans.
Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the SNP has repeatedly pressed the Treasury to strengthen welfare protections and make an emergency basic payment – with statistics earlier revealing that more than 8 million workers in the UK have been furloughed, while the number of people claiming unemployment benefits rose by eighty per cent to 2.1million in April.
Stephen Flynn MP (pictured), said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the economy, businesses, and people’s jobs and livelihoods – and it’s vital that when the UK government begins its economic recovery it does not usher in a new era of austerity.
“Rather than repeating mistakes of the past – that would see a return to soaring levels of unemployment, and which would push millions of people into further hardship and poverty – the UK government must instead commit to investment and strengthening public services and welfare protections.
“Throughout this unprecedented health crisis, the SNP has been clear that key measures to prevent unemployment and ensure a strong economic recovery are desperately needed.
“That is why the UK government must commit to maintaining access to the furlough scheme for as long as is required in Scotland and each of the devolved nations, rule out a return to austerity and instead invest to stimulate economic growth and boost jobs, and consider piloting a Universal Basic Income.
“Too many people have been left without help because of the serious gaps in support and many more are at risk of increased financial difficulties.
“We must learn the lessons of the past if we are to emerge from this crisis with a strong economic plan.”