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.”