Tuesday, 13 March 2018 14:57



The SNP's Westminster leader has criticised the Chancellor's Spring Statement for failing to address the biggest threats facing the economy.

Ian Blackford MP criticised the Chancellor’s failure to prepare for the cost of Brexit and for remaining wedded to austerity. He also condemned Philip Hammond’s refusal to rule out cuts to Scotland’s budget by £2.6billion in real terms (8.1%) over the decade from 2010/11 to 2019/20.

Ian Blackford MP said:

“More austerity, and no real contingency for the billions of pounds Brexit will cost us. This Tory government thinks it can do anything it wants to Scotland and get away with it.

“Philip Hammond had an opportunity today to tackle some of the biggest threats facing the economy. Instead, the Chancellor has his head firmly in the sand, as he chose to remain wedded to his government’s disastrous austerity agenda.

“Make no mistake that a hard Brexit is going to hit the pockets of families, it will lead to a loss in tax revenue expectations, and is therefore going to affect spending on our public services.

“We still have no clarity for people and business over the process of the UK exiting the EU, including the future of EU funding and the wider threat facing the economy.

“The Chancellor must set out immediately how the UK government’s £3 billion funding for Brexit preparations will be allocated and he must confirm that Scotland will have its fair share of this funding.

“The UK government’s own analysis tells us that, under all scenarios, Scotland would suffer a relatively greater loss in economic output than the UK as a whole, and a no deal scenario would be significantly devastating, threatening to reduce growth by 9% over 15 years.

“The UK government has overseen the most callous approach to benefits and continues to punish working households by failing to scrap the public sector pay cap.

“The Scottish budget passed last month illustrates the real divergence in political choices across the UK. In Scotland, the SNP Scottish Government has chosen to stand by its outstanding public sector staff and give them the pay increase they deserve. It’s time the UK government followed suit.

“The choices are clear and the opportunities obvious. The Chancellor must wake up to the economic injustices his government has overseen and he must set out urgently how the UK government will protect the economy in the face of Brexit.”

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