‘Austerity has failed’ – SNP

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By a Newsnet Scotland Reporter

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement demonstrates that the UK Government’s austerity measures have failed since 2014, according to SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie MP.

After the election in 2010 the Tories promised that debt would begin to fall as a share of GDP by 2014/15: that the current account should be in balance by 2015/16 and that public sector net borrowing would fall to £20 billion in the same year.

However, Hosie’s analysis is that in fact UK debt will not begin to fall as a share of GDP until 2016/17 at the earliest, the current account will not be in the black until 2018 at the earliest and the Public Sector Net borrowing will not be £20 billion in 2015/16 – but more than three times that at up to £75 billion.

Osborne’s pre-election pledge to the North of England that he will set up a “sovereign wealth fund” for the region if and when it benefits from the exploitation of shale gas by fracking will enrage many in Scotland, where such a fund has been lacking ever since the discovery and exploitation of North Sea oil in the 1960s.

“The Autumn Statement delivered by George Osborne today confirmed why the SNP are right to call for more powers for Scotland,” commented Mr Hosie.

“That is to give our Parliament the tools to grow the economy and improve the life chances of the Scottish people.

“We saw today the consequences of London taking economic decisions for Scotland.

“Today’s statement was merely a continuation of a failed austerity programme from an austerity Government which has failed to deliver the growth the economy needs and which has set out to balance the books on the back of the poor.

“Any Barnett consequentials must be set against the scale of cuts Scotland has faced over the last 4 years.

“Tory policy has strangled the recovery and with £75 billion of cuts to come we are on track for a decade of austerity.

“Austerity has failed. That is why we must have full economic decision making power in Scotland to deliver prosperity with a purpose – to grow the economy and deliver real social justice.”