Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession

Alex Salmond has demanded that Westminster do more to support jobs and growth

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As David Cameron has today given an interview with the Daily Telegraph arguing that austerity will last until 2020, Alex Salmond has demanded that Westminster do more to support jobs and growth.

salmond-cameronThe Scottish first minister’s comments come following a day of mixed news for the Scottish economy. On the jobs front, the number of jobless fell by 4,000 to 215,000 between March and May.

This means that the Scottish unemployment rate is now 8%, just below the UK wide average of 8.1%.

However, in a blow to the country, figures revealed that Scotland had followed the rest of the UK into a double dip recession. Data revealed that the Scottish economy contracted by 0.1% in the first quarter of the year, fuelled by a sharp 6.9% fall in construction output.

Placing the blame squarely at the door at Number 10, Salmond declared that “the UK’s government’s austerity agenda and the prime minister’s failure to heed calls for direct investment in construction and infrastructure is hampering progress.”

He continued:

“With the full economic and financial powers of independence we could do even more to raise Scotland’s competitiveness and drive forward economic recovery.

“In the meantime the UK government must deliver substantial capital investment immediately to promote growth and jobs.

Whilst Scottish Labour have sought to pin the blame on both Holyrood and Westminster, reaction in the Scottish press has George Osborne firmly in its sights.

At the Herald, in its editorial, whilst recognising Treasury announcements yesterday on infrastructure spending and the launch of the national loan scheme it warned:

“While all this should help to bring forward projects, it could take a year before the diggers move in and it is possible that the projects backed by government guarantee would go ahead anyway.

“By contrast the first minister’s call for direct investment in public sector projects would have the merit of getting some of his shovel-ready projects on site quickly. Mr Osborne would achieve more growth by recognising that investment in infrastructure has the double benefit of getting the economy and the country moving.”

 


See also:

Delaying a decision on gay marriage could spell trouble for Salmond 18 Jul 2012

As Yes to Independence campaign splits (again), Cameron considers taking control of Scottish referendum 9 Jul 2012

Darling launches campaign for the Union: ‘Better Together, united not divided’ 25 Jun 2012


 

At the Scotsman, meanwhile, its leader has called on the Treasury to take a dose of Keynesianism economics, concluding:

“What really needs to be revisited is the UK government’s dogged adherence to a Plan A, in which the A stands for Austerity. Mr Osborne has been at pains to ensure the markets are in no doubt that he is serious about tackling the country’s debt mountain.

“But there is a growing consensus that the policy required to see off the bond traders two years ago is not the policy required now, under different international circumstances and in the absence of the green shoots of recovery that everyone hoped would now be beginning to peek through the soil.

“What the markets want to see is growth, and quickest way to growth is a cleverly targeted increase in government spending.

“Keynesianism has been a dirty word at the Treasury for two years, but circumstances change, and policy must change too. The injection of money into the economy argued for by both Labour and the SNP must happen if Scotland and Britain as a whole are to begin the slow climb back to recovery.”

Interestingly however,  Professor John McLaren, of the Centre for Public Policy for Regions at the University of Glasgow argued that the figures published yesterday prove the needed for clearer economic data ahead of a referendum on independence.

Declaring that “overall, our economic prospects remain poor and the best way to improve them uncertain”, writing in the Scotsman he argues:

“Looking forward to the referendum, the current state of the economic data for Scotland remains inadequate. While we have data for the UK with and without the contribution of North Sea oil, we only have figures for Scotland without any share of North Sea oil. This situation could be easily corrected and should be.

“There is also a strong case for Scottish gross national product (GNP) to be published, as it more accurately measures the rewards from economic activity that remain within Scotland.

“Without this, the debate leading up to the referendum will be based on incomplete, possibly distorted information.”

Elsewhere, in Wales unemployment has risen to 9%, up 1.1% from the same period last year. Assessing the figures, Nick Servini BBC Wales business correspondent explains:

“Unemployment in Wales is not changing much for better or worse at the moment.

“Over the past six months it has gone up marginally three times and down the same. It has been at or above 130,000 for the past ten months, an historically high figure.

“During the pre-recession years of 2006 and 2008 that same figure stood at between 70,000 and 80,000.

“Employment has come down for the past three months, which will be worrying, but it has not reduced enough to raise major alarm bells yet.

“As you’d expect, the jobs’ market is sluggish in a double-dip recession and there is nothing to contradict that in today’s official figures for Wales.”

In Northern Ireland meanwhile, figures pointed to unemployment having risen to 6.9%, a 0.1% increase on the quarter before but down 0.2% on a year earlier.

Responding, Angela McGowan, Chief Economist at the Northern Bank is quoted in the Belfast Telegraph has having said:

“With economic stagnation and a far from dynamic labour market, unemployment levels remain remarkably resilient. However, the longer economic problems persist, the higher the chances of further job losses.”

Whilst arguing that high public sector employment in Northern Ireland had traditionally been a buffer she added:

“That safety blanket could rapidly erode if the UK coalition Government does not up its game when it comes to pulling the UK economy out of the current double-dip…

“Northern Bank forecasts suggest that unemployment in the local economy will peak at almost 64,000 claimants next year.”

 


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35 Responses to “Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession”

  1. FiveDee's Cats

    Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession, writes @EdJacobs1985: http://t.co/SxSTtzCs

  2. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession http://t.co/Md2p0x1z

  3. Political Planet

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  4. NewsatLeft

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  6. Foxy52

    Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession, writes @EdJacobs1985: http://t.co/SxSTtzCs

  7. Left Out

    RT @leftfootfwd: Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession http://t.co/pC7SBMcr

  8. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession http://t.co/mEgmVr5U

  9. Shamik Das

    Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession, writes @EdJacobs1985: http://t.co/SxSTtzCs

  10. GMB Milton Keynes

    Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession, writes @EdJacobs1985: http://t.co/SxSTtzCs

  11. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession http://t.co/DNpsLQc0

  12. lewis wilde

    RT @leftfootfwd: Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession http://t.co/DNpsLQc0

  13. Terry Airlie

    RT @leftfootfwd: Alex Salmond blames Westminster for double-dip recession http://t.co/DNpsLQc0

  14. Anonymous

    Harry S Truman had a sign on his desk: “The buck stops here”

    He put up his hand to take ownership and responsibility because he had the power and the control. The rest played political party games of blameshifting.

    Right now, Cameron and Osborne are the ones with the power and control over the finances and economics of the whole UK. 90% of the Scottish Government budget goes to essential services, where you cannot change spending without hurting people.

    The current mess is a mess made in Westminster and Whitehall. Targeting Salmond and the SNP is a bit of deflection. Scapegoating someone with very limited powers, instead of tackling the real issues and taking responsibility.

    Typical Unionist behaviour. The kind that got the whole UK in this mess and will continue to wreck EWNI after Scotland leaves the Union in 2015.

    It is not a change from one incompetent Unionist party to another – the need is for a complete change of system.

  15. Gerard

    Unfortunately for Alex Salmond he has contributed to this.

    He likes to bleat on about having limited powers but that excuse is wearing thin. Whe he came to office in 2007 the money was there for the ‘shovel-ready’ M8 upgrade and Raith interchange upgrade but they didn’t spend it on these much needed capital projects.

    Now he claims we need to invest in capital projects – why didn’t he do that back in 2007? What did he spend that money on?

    It’s not so easy to blame others when the finger of responsibility points back at you.

    Reminds me of the saying. Everytime you point the finger there are three pointing back at you.

  16. Anonymous

    And how has Salmond managed to mitigate this? Yes, causing uncertainty which discourages investment.

    So, how are you planning to rig the vote then? (There’s no excuse for the language of inevitability…)

  17. RolftheGanger

    Instead of tackling reactionary Tory government, you attack the wrong’enemy’ Scotland has control over only 15% of its fiscal policy, and none of its monetary policy.

    Resurrecting ancient history to dodge the issue. One can ask why the Labourites did nothing about Raith and other badly needed roadworks when in office the previous 12 years.

    If you can ask the question, you already know the answer. 2007 – minority SNP government, Smartarse Unionist alliance thought it was clever to stuff up the SNP by forcing through the capital expenditure on the Edinburgh trams fiasco. Yet another in the long list of Unionist disastrous decisions. Such as PFI/PPP.

    Quote ”
    August 28 2007 The Scotsman
    Scots will have to pay a “phenomenal” £22.3bn over the next four decades to fund all the Public Private Partnership projects across the country.
    New figures released by the Scottish Executive have revealed the true cost of the 102 contracts for the privately built schools, prisons and hospitals which, in some cases, will be privately run. The PPP statistics highlight the legacy of taxpayer debt the new SNP executive has inherited from the previous administration: around £4500 for every Scot.
    The SNP has consistently opposed PPP developments, formerly known as PFI. Now, in power, the party has discovered it is almost impossible to extricate itself from the contracts, some of which will last 40 years”

    Also in 2007 re the Eurostar line to St Pancras. “The price of the project was approximately £6bn. As the new line is just over 60 miles long, the cost thus works out at about £1bn per 10 miles. Each minute lopped off the previous journey time has cost hundreds of millions of pounds”

    The strategic issue the Left is not addressing – and needs to, is the drastic imbalance of capital investment in the UK – all concentrated in London and the SE. The result is disastrous economic, social and political unsustainable imbalance.

    The economic output of the average Yorkshireman is now half that of the average Londoner. West Wales is now poorer than the Tianjin province of China. The north-east has almost half as many people on benefits as the south-east. Scotland is now poorer than Slovenia. Yet London, if it were somehow made independent, would vie with Qatar as the richest city state in the world.
    At core is bias in UK government investment and wasteful spending in the SE.

    London Olympics 14 billion is just the latest.
    Another 14 billion on cancelled IT systems.
    4 billion on “procuring defence vehicles’ Amount procured – zero.
    And a long, long list of the same. The elephant in the political room is SE capital spending.

  18. Look Left – IMF warnings, economic non-solutions and Romney’s financial skeletons | Left Foot Forward

    […] was a widespread belief it is Westminster that holds the keys to Scottish growth. See our report here for more, and see here for the latest on Salmond’s tribulations over gay […]

  19. Anonymous

    Really, so you’re ignoring little issues like the blank cheque you want to issue?

  20. RolftheGanger

    The SNP Government (Salmond is First Minister, it is a team effort) has mitigated the economic impact by better government. Witness the 2011 public endorsement. Some background is needed to understand the patterns.

    The past pattern in economics since WWII has been for Scotland to catch a cold if London sneezed. A mild downturn in the SE resulted in recession in Scotland. Scotland went into recession faster, the drop was steeper and the recovery slower. Because economic policies are set for the SE, not for Scotland or the regions of EWNI. Just as the Scottish economy started to recover again – bang, the SE inflationary pressures triggered another slow down. This is simply a structural problem of a small different economy being controlled by a larger neighbor pusuing its own agenda.

    This time round, the impact of SNP efforts and a more robust economy, is that Scotland did not follow England down, has stayed relatively less affected and until now has staved off the worst impacts of SE determined cuts and wrongheaded economic policies by Osborne’s cuts in place of kick starting growth.

    Action taken would be a long list. Refusing wrongheaded Tory cuts, bringing forward capital expenditure , reducing and freezing business and domestic rates, concordat with local government to remove ringfencing (so money can be moved around and used, rather than frozen in budget allocations). Frugal government yielded a recent additional 150 million, promptly allocated to foster growth and employment. If you are really interested, http://www.newsnetscotland (dot)com and other sites can fill in the detail.

    No need to rig votes. And I express my personal opinion (the purpose of a blog you’ll recall) I control nothing.

    Referendum voting is determined by core values and issues of trust, credibility and reputation are central. The SNP have that in the bag with the London fiascos vs competent government. Latest Scottish Social Attitudes result is that less than 1 in 5 in Scotland trust Westminster to manage Scottish affairs. More than 4 in 5 trust the Scottish Government. Once trust is gone, the relationship is broken beyond repair. Hence the conviction that the Yes result is certain. Time to plan beyond the 2015 return to self government – in both countries.

  21. RolftheGanger

    The SNP Government is markedly more financially responsible than current Westminster reliance on ballooning debt financing.

    You do realise don’t you that “Quantitative Easing” is apolite way of saying: ‘diguised devaluation by sneaky methods that cheat savers out of the value of their savings, drain pension values, pay back others in devalued currency’. Whitehall is ever so good at using gloss words to put a spin in the dirty truth.

    The inflow of major capital investment to Scotland demonstrates that far from the imaginary ‘uncertainty’, overseas markets have marked confidence in Scottish prospects.

  22. Anonymous

    The SNP, the people who want the Scots to sign a blank cheque?

    That you blame “Whitehall” for Tory policy is typical. And what “inflow”? The “investors” making a mint off the Scottish power bills?

  23. Anonymous

    Yes, you keep saying “Westminster” when you mean “Tory”. Except, of course, you’re parroting Tory policy yourself. “Frugal Government”, slashed from the poor.

    And yes, elements like trust are vital, which is why the SNP’s blank cheque approach is so misguided, and your approach of declaring yourself the winner, a clear commitment to rigging the vote, is a very good indication of why your bring the SNP none of it.

    Polls are ONLY ever useful for trends, not for figures.

    And I see you’re going to raise a revoloution in NI as well, and goodness knows your plans for Wales! Because, you know, I too can take you literally and mock you!

    Done with the “ENGLISH SCUM” approach yet?It’s arrant bigotry, for someone who considers himself British and has no “English” identity (I’m not from an “English” background, I’m a BRITISH Jew).

  24. RolftheGanger

    The use of the term ‘Westminster’ is that both the Unionist parties are as bad as each other and it is the system of government that is the fundamental problem, not specific parties. Not all the world views life through a supposedly ‘inevitable’ Right/Left binary, linear logic mindset. Some of us are systems thinkers who take an over-view of the whole system and see the need for major structural reform.

    Unionists keep trying to paint the Independence cause as ‘against’ something. The truth is more mundane. It is simply a search for better system of government so that we can improve the conditions of living of all the Scottish people. It sure as hell is not going to improve under a continued Union. I say that as an economist and long term activist. Not SNP, as it happens.

    The either/or mindset of “must be Labour – or must be Tory” is very dated. Labour is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The new Left is about the excluded versus the power elite – concentrated in Westminster/Whitehall/the City/media that supports the whole sick system.

    An example is thinking beyond the “being frugal equals robbing the poor” knee jerk rubbish. The obvious (to SNP Government supporters) alternative is cutting out waste and inefficiency in government, eg. the SNP have aggregated government power bills, got volume discounts – and stepped up aid to the poor. Google this week’s recent 11.5m a year step up in support for 124 women’s shelters across Scotland. Anyone who actually knows the SNP Government record will know that they fight Tory cuts tooth and nail.

    Ethnicity (or religion) is not relevant to a debate about restructuring a better system of government. My grandparents were Irish and English as well as Gaelic Highlander and Lowland Broad Scots speaking. My wife and I both have English relatives as well as relatives in England. So what? Descending to emotion and abuse is waste of energy. The constitutional debate like many other issues has supporters in all quarters.

    Don’t see any problem in you continuing to view yourself as British and Jewish. Why the angst? Britain is a geographical term. The island is not going to sink – or get towed into two different location, come the return to self government of both countries.

    I am on extensive record on Disqus as posting in favour of post -independence reform of EWNI and urging people to prepare for the dissolution of the Union in 2015. Not a long time to re-think the governmental system and constitution of EWNI. The reason I bother is that it is the ordinary decent people of EWNI as well as Scotland who get the dirty end of the stick. The elite are so arrogant they cannot see change coming.

    I hope that this explains that we see the issues from quite different viewponts. Peace be with you and yours as well as me and mine.

  25. Anonymous

    “Not all the world views life through a supposedly ‘inevitable’ Right/Left binary, linear logic mindset”

    So basically, you’re denying you’re a right winger. Got it.

    “Why the angst?”

    “Angst”? You’re trying to destroy my country for short-term political goals. The SNP have done nothing more than any sensible people would do, and far less than the left would.

    Isolationism, “self-government”, serves nobody well. A proper federal system for the UK would. We can’t discuss ANYTHING about the future because the SNP insist that a blank cheque be voted for – you’re getting an unknown. One which I don’t believe you’d find remotely appetising even in the medium term.

    Calling me an “Elite” for not agreeing with seperationism is bluntly nasty. Peace? Pieces.

  26. RolftheGanger

    What is “right wing” in no particular order is typically:
    Top down control,
    Undue belief in and deference to authority figures and the established order, (Jubilee comes to mind)
    A strong desire to impose uniformity, conformity and observation of rules, rules set by the established order of leadership in the society, (nanny state, Labour and Tory ‘one policy fits all, pc correctness, BBC endless drumming in the “SE knows best”)
    Over readiness to resort to media brainwashing, policing, or military force, to impose their views on others who do not conform, (Murdoch – and other media barons, carefully left out of focus,;BBC used as the state propagandist,etc)
    Intolerance of debate, alternative views and multiple solutions, in place of their ‘one right way’ (Any BritNat blog column contributions or Daily Mail)
    The use of token ‘democracy’ to cloak the actual autocracy and and centralisation of power to the few, (H.ofLs, Westminster, now you have them now you dont referendum promises, etc)
    Undue deference to symbols and the head of state, (the nauseating fawning on royalty, PM, Unionist party leaders)
    Glorification of the nation, its power, influence, status etc. (Britain punching above its weight, UK on world stage, Trident, UN seat bullshit)
    Expansionist, imperialist tendencies to use bullying tactics to get their way with neighboring countries, or military force against foreign interests they oppose or other countries they can invade and subdue. (Attempts to instil and maintain the dependency mindset in Scotland, contempt and abuse to Ireland and the Irish, NI, and Middle East adventurist invasions, etc etc etc)

    So you see, from a Scots perspective the “right” is well and truly exemplified by the default settings of the British state – whichever major party/parties are in power.
    That is why increasingly it is recognised that Scottish and EWNI values are divergent and diverging.

    Federate with the above? No way!!

  27. Anonymous

    So basically, you’re blaming everyone else and refusing to look at Scotland or yourself.

    Keep spitting at me for considering myself British. You’re using the Daily Fail to attack the British left…none so blind!

  28. RolftheGanger

    Setting out a set of characteristics and showing that they can be seen to align with aspects of the current British constitution and political system is an argument. Not a piece of blame.

    Blame is an emotive term. IT shifts focus away from the formality. Citizens have the right to hold those exercising power and control on their behalf to account. So the correct term is accountability.

    Those who have held that power and control over the main levelrs of economic policy, taxation, expenditure and social and other policies have been governments at Westminster. That is a fact. Attempting to slide out from under that accountability by blame-shifting to the victim of their policies is a despicable piece of sophistry.

    One can hold governments to account to the extent and limit of the powers they exercise, or exercised. However, since one cannot change ther past it is mostly pointless to engage in blame – which can be defined as a judgmental negative exercise of self righteous, self justifying hindsight.

    You posit a false dichotomy. An uncertain future if Scotland returns to self government. Versus an assumed ‘certainty’ if in the Union. That is simply false. Who knows what further catastrophes Westmister incompetence, wrongheadedness and fixation with past glories will visit on Scotland if unwise enough to stay in a dysfunctional Union. The track record prompts me to choose self government.

  29. Anonymous

    No, it’s not false to point out that the SNP are demanding a blank cheque. You can’t be honest about this can you?

    You seem determined to ban certain words from the debate, too. Why are you so scared of free debate? And yes, your blaming the British left for the daily mail is absolutely despicable.

  30. RolftheGanger

    Perhaps if you clarified the emotive and very non-enlightening bit about a ‘blank cheque’ – on what?, from whom? in what way? a response will be possible.

    Not banning anything – no power to do so. Defining from another viewpoint is not banning.

    I suppose one could hold the purchasers accountable for the continued existence of the Daily Mail, et al but not the society other than from a Marxist interpretation of societal symptoms perhaps?
    Also we may need to start another heading or vanish off the page to the right!
    Perish the thought!

  31. Anonymous

    …So, you haven’t been following the basic news on this then. It’s not “emotive”, it’s a literal statement. Moreover, I don’t care for revisionism of the common meanings of words.

    Ah yes, now I’m a “marxist”…er, no. Mutualist.

    (And use disqus dashboard already ^^)

  32. RolftheGanger

    Re-started with a new comment.

  33. Anonymous

    That’s nice.

  34. Uglyfatbloke

    Since Cameron and Osborne are responsible for screwing up the UK economy as a whole it seems reasonable to assume that they are responsible for screwing up Scotland as well. Just because Brown and Darling made a complete mess of everything does not excuse Cameron for not sorting the mess out.

  35. Uglyfatbloke

    Salmond ‘s not always wrong…if the double dip in England is Cameron’s fault (and mostly it is) then the double dip in Scotland is Cameron’s fault as well. Salmond’s government only controls a tiny slice of the economy in Scotland.
    Did anyone see that thing about why the tories should reach out to the Orange Order? Disgusting.

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