Commenting on George Osborne’s Budget, West Dunbartonshire SNP MP Martin Docherty said:
“George Osborne’s budget will hit hard working families, the poorest and young people the hardest. He has continued with his unionist austerity agenda which we now know includes savage cuts in tax credits. Any increase in the minimum wage is of course welcome, but the reality is that the good will be more than undone by the wider austerity cuts.

The living wage in Scotland is currently £7.85. George Osborne has a brass neck trying to frame his minimum wage increase as living wage implementation. With the living wage in Scotland currently at £7.85 the Tories’ offering of £7.20 per hour is an insult to the communities of West Dunbartonshire.
This Budget was a sermon from the high priest of the unionist austerity cult; ‘Robbing’ Hood, taking from the poor and hardworking people and giving to the richest in society. The Tories’ cuts in the living standards of young people are particularly severe, including scrapping student grants. The SNP Government will continue to deliver grants for the poorest students in Scotland, demonstrating the benefits of having these powers in the Scottish Parliament, rather than in Tory hands at Westminster.
There were measures which we welcome such as the freeze in fuel duty, but there was nothing in the Budget to encourage innovation or exports.
The UK Government are imposing this austerity Budget on Scotland on the basis of having a single Tory MP north of the border. The electorate in West Dunbartonshire and Scotland as a whole overwhelmingly rejected austerity at the election by returning 56 SNP MPs, and the Tories secured their lowest share of the vote in Scotland since 1865.
This Budget underlines the need to have economic and welfare powers in Scotland, so that we can build a more dynamic economy to boost tax revenues, and create a fairer society where policies benefit the many, not deliver tax cuts for millionaires.”

Maiden Speech – West Dunbartonshire & English Votes for English Laws

West Dunbartonshire’s SNP MP Martin Docherty has made his first debate speech in the House of Commons, during the important emergency session on the Government’s EVEL proposals.

Martin, took time to highlight the rich and inspirational history of the of our industrious constituency, speaking about people and communities from Gartocharn to Clydebank used his speech to focus Members of the House of Commons’ minds on the democratic deficit that exists within the current Government.

In particular, the Government’s EVEL proposals would not only see two or three different classes of MPs created, but because the Government is pushing this reform through as a procedural adjustment, they are refusing to engage in any public consultation and bypassing the normal debate and scrutiny that should be undertaken by the House of Commons and forcing the independent speaker to act in a highly political manner.

The Government’s plans fell into complete disarray following the heated debate when MPs voted 291 to 2 against a motion from the Government that the plans had been properly debated; the Tory Government were so shell shocked by the debate that with the exception of 2 members, every Government MP abstained from the vote.

Speaking after the debate, Martin said,

“If the Government is allowed to push these proposals through, the Speaker will be forced to rule on every Bill and Clause before the house and decide whether English MPs have a veto. How will the speaker decide what is an English only matter? Responses from the Leader of the House have left me concerned that budget reductions for Scotland would be seen as minor issues by the Government and hence not part of the Speaker’s consideration.

This will place the speaker in an impossible position, forced to take a highly political position and choose which MPs are to have a final say on decisions, ultimately excluding myself and fellow Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues from the final decision making process.

I think it’s important to recognise the public appetite for English devolution, but creating an elite class of MPs to form a veto group is not what voters want. The Government needs to properly consult the people and take time to draw up plans for real devolution.

My hope is that the SNP, backed up cross party by opposition colleagues, have done enough to make the Government think again.”

Link to speech (Video – from 15:34:41)

Link to speech (Hansard Written)