SNP attack Tory budget as ‘sermon from an austerity cult’

The SNP’s comments come as new figures suggest almost half of families in Scotland could be left struggling if plans to cut working tax credits go ahead

 

The SNP has declared that the first Tory only budget in almost 20 years will amount to a ‘sermon from an austerity cult’.

Following a weekend in which the chancellor outlined a host of areas he intended to cut around welfare and the BBC, the SNP’s deputy leader and treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie has made clear that the SNP plans to use its mandate to fight the government’s plans.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s statement, Hosie declared:

“George Osborne will set out his plans on Wednesday to cut further and deeper than he needs to in the first blue blooded Tory budget for twenty years.

“We know the scale of spending cuts coming our way as the chancellor set them out in his budget in March – and we know that the cuts he is planning significantly exceed what is actually required to meet his own fiscal targets.”

He continued:

“Working to deliver an economy in balance rather than surplus would provide the flexibility to deliver up to £93 billion of cumulative additional investment over the next four years.

“Our concern is that the Chancellor will not use this flexibility wisely and will repeat the mistakes of the last parliament adding to the terrible damage the Tories have inflicted over the last five years.

“This will be a budget less about boosting productivity and growth – more a sermon from an austerity cult – cutting where it is not necessary and weakening further the chance of a sustained recovery.”

Referring to the SNP’s mandate at the UK General Election, Hosie concluded:

‘’The SNP won an unprecedented mandate from the people of Scotland to reject Westminster’s austerity agenda and to get the economic levers the Scottish parliament requires.

“This week will see the SNP continue to reject the unnecessary cuts and austerity so damaging to communities and families across the country.’’

The SNP’s comments come as new figures suggest that almost half of all families in Scotland could be left struggling if plans to cut working tax credits go ahead.

Barnardo’s Scotland has calculated that 49.1 per cent of families in Scotland currently use working tax credits to top up low incomes, which, they note, help them ‘buy essentials such as food and clothing for their family’.

Launching the charity’s new campaign calling on the UK government to keep the ‘lifeline’ benefit, Mark Ballard, Head of Policy for Barnardo’s Scotland said:

“The UK government has promised to improve support for working families so that parents do not have to choose between feeding their families and heating their homes.

“Unfortunately, the reality is increasing numbers of working parents are struggling to stay above the breadline, and any proposed cuts to the benefits they rely on will only make things worse. Low paid parents with dependent children rely on tax credits to make up the difference between what they earn and what they need to get by.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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