SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has responded to the UK government’s Autumn budget, condemning the Chancellor’s plans as a missed opportunity to boost household incomes and support hard-pressed families in West Dunbartonshire.
A report by the Resolution Foundation has warned that the UK faces the longest period of falling living standards since records began as a result of ongoing Tory austerity. Analysis of the UK budget finds that the Chancellor’s plans are set to worsen inequality, taking away an average of £715 a year from the poorest households whilst benefiting the richest in society by £185.
The warning by the Resolution Foundation follows comments by Scotland’s Finance Secretary that Scots are being short-changed by the UK Government. Concerns have been raised about the impact of the budget settlement on Scotland’s public services due to a real terms cut to Holyrood’s block grant of over £200m next year.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“The Resolution Foundation’s report on the UK Government’s budget plans is damning, showing that the squeeze on household incomes is set to get worse due to increases in the costs of living and ongoing Tory austerity.
“The Chancellor had the opportunity to take action to boost household incomes and support hard-pressed families in West Dunbartonshire. Instead our communities are facing the longest period of falling living standards since records began.
“Whilst some measures in the Chancellors statement are to be welcomed such as the long-overdue reversal on the need for Scotland’s police and fire services to pay VAT, it is disappointing that Philip Hammond has refused to pay back the £140m of VAT already taken.
“The most notable feature of this budget is what isn’t included – no reversal of the benefits freeze or cuts to disability support, no pledge to lift the public sector pay cap and no commitment to help the WASPI women.
“The reality is that the UK’s government’s plans will do little to relieve the pressure on Scotland’s poorest and most vulnerable households who are being forced into hardship as a result of Tory cuts.”
Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, said:
“Austerity has not ended and over ten years of this UK Government, between 2010-11 and 2019-20, we will continue to see Scotland’s discretionary budget fall in real terms by £2.6bn, that’s 8.1%.
“The reality of today’s budget is that Scotland continues to be hit by UK austerity and the decision to leave the EU. Compared with the £1bn awarded to the DUP, the funding settlement for Scotland unveiled today is disappointing.
“I have consistently argued for a better settlement for Scotland, and this budget does not reflect that.”
The report by the Resolution Foundation is available here: http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/freshly-squeezed-autumn-budget-2017-response/