FURTHER CUTS WILL HIT POOREST HARDEST
Despite years of sustained austerity under the Tories, the UK government this week (Monday 27th February 2017) snuck out the news that it will seek to hammer the poorest people in our society with a further £3.5 billion in cuts – demanding that Whitehall departments find 6% in savings by 2020.
The latest call from Chancellor Philip Hammond confirms a litany of failures by successive Tory governments, reveals the economic harm being perpetrated through Brexit, and the folly of refusing to heed repeated SNP calls to halt the cuts
After seven years of slash and burn Tory austerity – which has hit poorest households the hardest – the SNP is calling on the UK government to finally accept that their economic policies have failed for good. This comes on the back of a new budget briefing by the Resolution Foundation showing that current Tory policies are “expected to drive the biggest increase in inequality since Thatcher.”
The SNP is also seeking assurances about what wholesale departmental cuts could mean for Scotland’s budget settlement.
Commenting Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“The manner in which the UK government have snuck out this significant announcement under cover of darkness, while not untypical, is completely reprehensible.
“More fundamentally, these further deep cuts to public spending pile further austerity on top of austerity and will hammer some of the poorest people living in our communities. Deprived communities such as those in West Dunbartonshire stand to suffer the most, taking a disproportionate share of Westminster’s abuse.
“It’s an admission by the Tories that seven years of relentless austerity hasn’t worked. They need to accept that reality instead of burying their heads deeper and deeper into the sand. When something isn’t working, there is nothing to be gained by continuing to follow the same flawed path.
“The evidence is staring them right in the face – with public services such as the English NHS in crisis under the Tories and prison officers in England on the brink of strikes. It’s little wonder experts believe that continuing to pursue austerity will drive the biggest increase in inequality since Thatcher.
“Scheduling more cuts for a time when the UK will be on the brink of leaving the EU could compound the very worst risks of the ruinous hard Brexit which the Tories are intent on pursuing.
“And critically, we need clarity on what this announcement means for Scotland’s finances? We’re already in line for a drastic 9% real terms reduction in the Scottish Government’s budget by 2019-20, and while the SNP Scottish Government have sought to use their finances carefully to mitigate the worst of Tory austerity, further cuts could prove devastating.
“The SNP have consistently called for a reasonable, modest increase in public spending to boost productivity, trade and investment. It’s time for the Tories to listen, and finally bring a halt their failing austerity agenda. To heap yet more austerity on top of the mess and uncertainty they’ve created through Brexit would be completely reckless.”
Notes for Editors:
Resolution Foundation briefing: “Economy drive: Prospects and priorities ahead of the last Spring Budget” http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2017/02/Economy-Drive.pdf
Prison officers in England and Wales to take industrial action – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/28/prison-officers-england-and-wales-industrial-action