Local Scottish Parliament and Westminster representatives Stuart McDonald MP and Jamie Hepburn MSP have condemned the UK Government for slashing Scotland’s budget.
Chancellor George Osborne announced during his Autumn Statement that Scotland now faces a real terms cut of £1.5 billion in the budgets that pay for day to day public services.
Both Mr McDonald and Mr Hepburn have condemned the Tories plans which represent a 6% real-terms cut to the Scottish Government budget.
In the same statement the Chancellor announced that his planned cut to Child Tax Credits would no longer go ahead, following opposition pressure brought to bear on the plans by the SNP.
George Osborne’s u-turn on the proposed cut, which would have which would have hit 250,000 families in Scotland, has been welcomed by Mr McDonald and Mr Hepburn. They have cautioned that some of the changes to tax credits in the Chancellors original plan wills till go ahead at a later date.
Commenting on the matter Mr McDonald said:
“The Chancellor’s climb down on his discredited Child Tax Credits plans is a welcome surprise. Without the actions of the SNP MPs George Osbourne would never have been forced into this embarrassing u-turn.
“This is good news for the 250,000 families in Scotland who would have been hit by the cuts.
However, as welcome as that announcement was, there can be no doubt that the rest of the statement signals bad news for Scotland.
“Yet again Scotland is having another round of cuts forced upon us. There are plenty of alternatives – these cuts are not needed, they are not supported and by the UK Government’s own admission they are not even working.
“If the Tories are unwilling or unable to deliver a budget that reflects Scotland’s needs and aspirations then they should hand control over these matters to the Scottish Parliament where we have a government working for Scotland’s best interests.”
Mr Hepburn added:
I am please that the SNP group of MPs in Westminster has forced the Chancellor into backing down on his planned cuts to Child Tax Credits. However, some of the tax credit changes that the Chancellor announced in earlier this year will still go ahead at a future date.
“With a Labour party more interested in cheap stunts and internal squabbles, the SNP have become the real opposition in Westminster.
“We have an unelected Tory Government, who could not win more than a single solitary seat in Scotland and yet are able to slash our budgets and tie Holyroods hands.
“The Scottish Government have published clear plans to cut debt, have the deficit falling and still invest in public services. Holyrood should be given the powers it needs to build the kind of economy that works for Scotland.”