Budget ‘fails’ local people

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SNP MSP Rona Mackay has criticised the UK Government for failing the people of Strathkelvin and Bearsden, following this week’s Budget.

She said that after promising to end austerity, the UK Government’s budget had, in fact, failed Scottish people, with Scotland’s resource block grant almost £2 billion lower in real terms next year than it was less than a decade ago.

The MSP said the Budget did not deliver on the promises of a rise in public spending – Scotland’s NHS has been “short-changed”, the “disastrous” roll-out of Universal Credit has not been halted, and the richest 10 per cent of the UK population would be the ones who would benefit most from Tory tax cuts.

Ms Mackay said: “This Tory Budget falls a long way short of delivering for the people of Scotland. Working people will be £1,600 worse off thanks to their mishandling of Brexit, and the changes in this year’s Budget do nothing to alleviate the untold damage this will do.

“The reality of this Budget is that the Tories have dug themselves a deeper hole, with no clue how to get out of it. People in Strathkelvin and Bearsden and across Scotland, are getting a bad deal with the Tories.

“The SNP will not support Tory tax cuts for the richest at the expense of the poor.

“Instead of ploughing on with more harmful austerity, the UK Government should commit to a realistic plan for investment in public services, to grow the economy and to boost jobs, incomes and living standards.

“This budget has exposed in stark terms the democratic deficit of the UK, and why we need full powers over Scotland’s finances to grow our economy and build a fairer country.”

The Scottish government’s draft budget plans will be set out in December.

Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Budget – the last before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 – to claim that “the era of austerity is finally coming to an end”.

The latest set of tax and spending plans included a freeze on whisky duty and oil industry taxes, and an extra £950m for the Scottish government over three years.

But Mr Hammond’s Scottish counterpart, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, said the UK government had made a choice not to end austerity, and “short-changed Scotland”.

He said: “They could have done much more to stimulate the economy and invest in our public services, andhave 
chosen not to”.